September 15, 2006

"It's like riding a bicycle..."

Oh, you mean scary as hell?

Because I bought a bike yesterday and took my first real ride this morning, and let me tell you that I was scared out of my ever-loving mind. Something about SPEED I forgot entirely, something about balance that makes no sense on two wheels, something about pot holes and not remembering how to go AROUND them. Steering--when did I unlearn that? Something about the fear of falling and breaking pretty much everything--where was that fear when I was a kid?

What is it that awakens our bones to danger in our 40s that was completely dormant while we were young? I used to fall off my horse all. the. time. The answer was simple--don't learn to ride better, just get back on. Permission to fall was the default. Permission to speed. Permission to surpass the bounds of that which might injure or maim. Back in the day when I rode bikes and horses and played driveway hockey without thinking of protecting teeth, head, or spine, my  body was my ally. When did it become my opposition?

Honestly, peddling this bike thing felt like nothing I'd ever done before. How can 30 years off a bike make that much of a difference? But I finally got the smart idea about how to get used to two wheels again in a relatively safe way, considering our hilly terrain. I walked the bike up the hill to our cul-de-sac (Culture Sack as Jenna calls it--great band name), and I rode around and around and around and around.

I went 20 laps one way and 20 the other, and then carefully applied breaks all the way back down the hill to our driveway. And just for a split second, when I let the brakes go, and my hair blew back, I remembered what it was like to fly without four wheels and an engine, remembered earning speed.


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