Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bike

Today that bright ball of warmth that I vaguely remember as the sun finally popped out and the temperature threatened to break 50 degrees. In this seemingly never ending winter, this felt like bathing suit weather. My intentions were to be outside with the children as much as possible before the temps fell and the rain and gray returned. So this morning was our outside time and I wanted us outside on our bikes. The kids have new bikes that we bought last year, pre assembled at a large big chain store that did a poor job of assembling them. So they never ride them. They wobble and spin in place. It’s like a toddler spin session. Also, now that I’m not pregnant, I desperately wanted a bike for myself so that we could go on bike rides together. This is something I’ve talked about doing for so long but with no action.

Today was the day. Warmth = action. I packed up their bikes and headed to Bloomfield Bike where I was greeted with knowledge, a huge selection, and a reminder of why you should shop small for many important things like bikes (yay Bloomfield Bike!). I explained I needed the training wheels removed and a tune up and one for myself.

Now, I’m not a professional biker nor will I ever be. I wanted something purely recreational. Three speeds. Something that says, “I haven’t been on a bike in 15 years but am not afraid to show my kid that I legitimately do know how to ride a bike.”
 
The gentleman at the bike shop took me out back to their warehouse of used, consigned bikes. As I strolled through the selection there was an oldie that caught my eye. Bright red, thin tires, faded Columbia lettering, hand brakes, and three speed clicker. Fresh from the 1960s, he suggested I give her a try. I hesitated. After all, I hadn’t been on a bike in probably 15 years. I didn’t even remember how the gears worked.

“Get on,” he said. “The faster you pedal, the steadier you’ll be.”

Deep, I thought, for a bike shop. But hells bells if he’s not right. And so I pedaled and son of a gun, if riding a bike isn’t like, well, riding a bike. It comes right back to you. One helmet later, I rushed home to try her out.

Phil and the kids were out when I arrived back and it was just me and my not so shiny not so new toy. I wanted desperately to show it off to Dylan and Ruby and start riding with them, but decided to give it a little test drive around the neighborhood first while I waited for them. Sun still shining but the wind blowing now at my back, winter threatening to return (again). I put on my helmet and started pedaling.

Things have been crazy these past few weeks, life in third speed indeed. Ironically, despite whatever we say, Phil and I always seem to like it that way. Whenever we are in first speed, whenever we’re coasting, we’re almost anxious, nervous, itching to change it up. And usually we do in some way. As if our sweet spot, our comfort zone is in that hard place. 

But right now I am having that wonderful moment when you are reminded of how much you love something you haven’t done in years, of how freeing it feels to have the wind on your cheeks, hair blowing, tires splashing in puddles, feeling how relaxed it is to enjoy that shift when you’ve been pedaling hard for awhile and finally ease up on yourself and shift down and coast for a bit.

Shameless metaphor and all, I pedal a bit faster, finding a steady rhythm once again.

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