The picture of my little 15 year old car with bikes attached to it makes me so happy. Truth be told, I haven’t had a bike in years. And R has never had a proper bike, nor is she very confident in riding a bike. The divorce kind of messed up my finances and then when I would research bikes it would be so overwhelming as far as price and things to consider that I just put it off. . .and put it off. This weekend I decided that we would go get a bike rack (after all, there’s no way a bike would fit IN my car) and helmets. As it happened, I decided to check out Craigslist and there were two bikes listed from the same address nearby, a “Giant Woman’s Bike” and a girl’s bike. It had been posted 15 minutes prior to me checking.
I emailed them, we agreed to meet in a couple of hours and then the girls and I went and bought a bike rack, installed it, got cash, bought the bikes, and came home. I love when things just fall together. Of course, I still have to the girls how to ride. I know that this is pretty basic stuff, but for me it’s a big deal.
As a kid, I was never athletic. I didn’t know how to roller skate, or ice skate, or swim, and I learned to ride a bike at a pretty late age. I’ve never been embarrassed about being tall, but I could never hide my age due to it. When I did finally learn to ride a bike, I spent summers riding over to construction sites and toodling around after hours. There was a new subdivision going in by us and it was fascinating to ride over there every day and see the silent progress, foundations being created, walls going up, walking around in the thick clay mud over newly created roads. It was freedom to be alone and observe, though my brother often came with me.
My family knew books. Books in proper bookcases with glass doors, and books in makeshift cinderblock bookcases when those were overrun, and books piled high in the upstairs hallway over and in front of the buried bookcases up there. Reading is what I know and it’s easy enough to teach something that is part of your soul.
But bodies should be fed too, and some of my happiest times are being outside, watching ants crawl around the base of trees or watching the slow sap of pine trees ooze over days. A bike gave the freedom to go farther, to explore quiet places where no one else is around, to listen to the wind in the trees, to make up stories of trolls under bridges and to watch the punctuated pattern of manmade things being created. Strength gives you the ability to climb trees and sit up where the branches sway, a little bit scary and yet really fulfilling. And late is better than never.