This past weekend, my husband and I decided to go for a bike ride, to celebrate me successfully completing another 365 days of my life. I had not been on my bike for five years, so when Hubby suggested we go for a bike ride, I was, oh, a bit uncomfortable at the idea.
When I told my husband that I was nervous about riding a bike, he looked at me incredulously and chuckled just a little at my fears.
Despite having ridden a bike through my childhood and college years, it was only about five years ago that I decided it might be a good thing to buy a bike and start riding again. Hubby and I dutifully went off to look at bikes, and we settled on a pretty white one. I sat down on the seat, pushed off to test drive it, and immediately fell over. On Green Lake Drive. On a busy warm spring day. With all kinds of cars and people going by. Ker plop. I was down.
A gorgeous road rash burst into bloom on my knee, and a trail of blood starting gushing to the pavement. The sales person was even more shaken than I was, getting me back inside the shop, having me sit down, and running off the fetch the first aid kit. You know the whole rushing around with arms flailing in the air? Okay, it wasn’t QUITE that dramatic, but it was close!
Having demolished their supply of Band-Aids and earned my Red Badge of Courage, I wrapped a piece of gauze around my knee, steadied my shaking hands, and yup, got back on that bike.
So you can understand, perhaps, why the thought of getting back on the white beast really was freaking me out.
Happily, the day ended with me NOT falling off the bike. I even remembered the combination for the bike lock! Hey hey, success!
As we made the circuit from North Seattle to Woodinville and back, I was back in Hilo, on my red bike with the pink streamers and sparkly paint. We, the neighborhood kids, rode with impunity through our neighborhood. We taunted barking dogs, terrorized sleeping cats, climbed hills and pretended that our bikes were jets, spaceships, horses, race cars, tanks and time machines. Our bikes were so much more than just vehicles moving our childhood memories from one adventure to another. Our bikes are what made our static drawings of childhood adventures into living breathing moving pictures, filmed in Technicolor with a hefty supply of Bacitracin and Band Aids at the ready. Our bikes made us INVINCIBLE!
I wasn’t always a super hero on my bike, and am still very much NOT one. My fledgling super hero days in bike riding involved countless crashes into the wild olive bushes that lined the end our driveway. My mother would run alongside me, holding the bike steady and then PUSH! Off she would launch me, telling me to PEDAL PEDAL PEDAL to gain speed and balance. And nine times out of ten, I would pedal directly into the green embrace of those olive bushes.
I don’t know when or how I figured out the whole balance on two wheels thing, and I must admit, whoever was the first one who thought that it was possible is pretty much a genius. And no, I am not an avid bike rider now. I mean come on, it just doesn’t make sense!
But what I cherish when I’m riding, what I get from being back in the saddle is that return to the Super Girl of my youth. So when you see me pedaling sedately by, just know that inside, Super Girl is doing backflips, wheelies and jumping curbs, making those sparkly pink streamers at the end of the handle bars fly in the wind.