I had no idea that two-hour spontaneous adventure would lead to a new passion, new friends and new perspectives.
When I returned from my ride that hot June 13 afternoon, I casually asked the women working in the shop about the sassy yellow bike parked out front. I wasn’t in the market to buy; I was just curious. Bikes had changed a lot in the 30 years since I last had one.
It didn’t take long for curiosity to get the best of me. Within an hour, I’d tried a half dozen bikes. But I kept getting drawn back to that yellow one. It wasn’t flashy or sleek. No fancy tires or complicated handlebars.
Before long, I was chatting with the shop’s owner asking questions about gears and brakes on that yellow bike and wondering if it would fit in the back seat of my convertible.
I hadn't owned a brand new bike since I was a child. The first one I really remember was pink with the sparkly banana seat, a sissy bar, a basket with flowers and tassels on the handlebars. I would speed down the Roslyn Drive hill pretending I’d sprouted wings.
Today, I’m pretty sure I’ve dusted off those magical wings.
|With cousin LeDare in Columbus, GA|
I’ve packed those magic wings with me to ride and explore in nine states over the past two years. I’ve biked through Central Park; around Lady Bird Lake in Austin; on the shores of two Great Lakes; along the bluffs overlooking Cape Cod; on the Colonial Parkway in Williamsburg, VA; by the Chattahoochie river in Columbus, GA; and along the Grand Canyon rim, just to name a few.
Whether it’s on my yellow bike or a rental, the feeling is always the same once my feet tap the pedals and the wind brushes my face. I can experience my surroundings with a perspective and intensity different from what I’d feel by walking or driving.
|With my sister, Bootie, and nephew, John, |
at the Grand Canyon
If I’d chosen to explore the Grand Canyon on the big tour bus, I would have missed not only the magnificence of the Canyon’s edge but also sharing the riding experience with my sister and nephew.
If I’d been in a car, I would have missed the quick turn in a small Cape Cod town that led me to a magical beach where I ate oysters as they were being unloaded off the boat.
If I’d been walking, I never would have made it far enough around Lake St. Clair in Detroit to eat the best hot dog ever and chat with the stand owner who was a retired cowboy.
On this bike-i-versary, I will admit to an obsession in observing milestones. They give me a groundedness to see progress (or sometimes lack of progress) in my life. These observances are more than just a perspective on time, however. They also give me reason to be grateful.
|With goddaughter Beverly on the Swamp|
Every year, I celebrate the anniversary of the day I started my first job and can be grateful for the people who mentored and inspired me all those years ago. I rejoice in the observance of the day our rescue dog Dixie came to us and am grateful for the simple joy she brings me every day.
On this second bike-i-versary, I can be grateful for many things
- the diversity of the travel adventures I never would have experienced otherwise;
- the healthy habits I’ve gained and the calories I’ve burned from pedaling more than 1500 miles (without padded biking shorts);
- the depth of life lessons learned;
- the fun I've had on rides with my cousin, my goddaughter, my nephew, my sister, and numerous old and new friends;
- the inspiration I have drawn from my new friend Robin, Pedal Chic's owner, who has encouraged me in my bike riding adventures.
I think I’ve proven to myself you’re a keeper - just a few nicks and pings along with new brake cables, one new tire and a new chain and a few added necessities like a rear-view mirror, bottle holder and rear rack. Plus, yes, even the padded biking shorts!