I kicked off 2016 with cycling and running foremost in my mind. I participated in the area’s Freezing Saddles challenge – to ride as many days as possible from January through March – and signed on to ride the best flèche ever with our friend Jerry.
From the beginning of the year through April, I enthusiastically pursued daily riding and weekly mileage goals. At some point, though, other activities began occupying more of my head space and with them, my energy and focus on cycling.
My routine went out the window. The riding did not stop, but lessened in frequency and quantity. That evil cycle of getting down on myself for not meeting my recreational goals crept into my consciousness.
My running did not suffer quite as much, but recently the bike has been reduced to a vehicle to take me places (mostly work and the grocery store) and carry my stuff (my laptop and groceries). It has stayed behind when I traveled for work.
The only bike I’m currently riding is my single-speed Rivendell Quickbeam (not a bad bike, I must say). My other steeds languish untouched, silently crying for miles outside. But I don’t have time to devote to them, I tell myself.
I’ve always appreciated the bike’s economy, but usually I’ve embraced my partnership with the bike in a more sensual and immersive way. It’s been years since I viewed cycling strictly as the best car-free way to go from Point A to Point B.
Breeze on my face, steady wheels propelled by the force of my own pedal strokes, the sure feel of my ride. My bike and I travel seamlessly together in our journeys through the city and wherever else we venture.
Lately, my head is stuffed with to-do lists and other non-cycling distractions, and my unity with the bike has become strained. Soundlessly we ride along, but I have forgotten to appreciate all the bike brings to my life: freedom, health, independence, and an overall increased sense of beauty about this life.
Perhaps it’s silly to feel this way, and yet unexpected tears well as I write. Our bikes may not be sentient, but we form intimate connections with them. My bike is my partner in exploration. A dear friend. I miss our bond, and my conscious awareness of our union. Soon bike, soon.