Me & My Bike

You know the moment when you realize that you really, really love doing something but haven’t done it in a very long time and then you do it again and you love it even more?  Well, that’s what’s been happening to me and my bike.

As a senior at Miami University, I rode on a cycling team called Hey Llama! and we took first place in the women’s 10/10 bike race.  Think similar but not really to the Little 500 at I.U.  Think smaller, shorter, less crowded, and much less cash invested.  I wore orange flowered running shorts with my red t-shirt, and even got my picture in the Daily Student.

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Where my parents live used to be full of nothing but roads, fields, farms, and a few schools.  Perfect {and safe} for long bike rides on empty roads laid out like lines on a checkerboard.   I had two different mountain bikes in high school and college.  One was stolen from the masses piled onto the dorm bike rack.  I brought the second with me when I came to Bloomington to pursue education after graduation at MU.   I found friends to ride with; Bloomington seems to teem with them.   It was hard to keep up, though, so that Christmas I asked for a road bike.  It was royal blue and orange, perfect for me.  And it was fast.  I wish I had a picture.  I may still, somewhere.

Seasons of life come and go, though, and that’s just what happened to us.  We moved to Austria, Cole was born.  We moved back to Bloomington, Max and Zeke were born.  During one summer, I had a trailer and I pulled C and M to the park behind my road bike.  It wasn’t ideal, but I loved it.

Then came time for Cole to learn to ride his own bike.  And it was time to sell my road bike.  I hoped that once the boys learned to ride, we could all take neighborhood rides.   A road bike wasn’t fit for my new season.  So I sold it, hoping to buy a neighborhood cruiser, maybe with a basket and a bell and a cushy seat.  Much better for leisurely rides with my boys {none of them could ride solo yet, and really, not all of them could even walk at that point}.  But I knew it was coming someday, the hope planted deep.

Our neighbor from Dekist Street, Dave, is a bike wizard, and often finds broken bikes at auctions.  He repairs them and voila!  New bike life.  After hearing my need, that’s exactly what he did for me.  One day a few springs ago, a green Diamondback bike, complete with cushy seat, appeared on our driveway.  I gasped, truly.   A gift.

So as our boys began learning to ride, I began braving the neighborhood streets with them, one by one.  Riding my not-so-pretty-but-perfect-for-me bike.  Teaching them to stay on the edge, rules of the road.  Stay on the right, hand signals to turn.  Stop signs are for you, too.  Even just a short neighborhood loop was a victory for me, and I started to remember my love for riding a bike.

It looks different even now just a couple of years after those first rides.  Much better different.  Awesome different, actually.   Just last weekend, Mother’s Day weekend, we took a family bike ride.  Our first family bike ride ever.   I didn’t ask for that gift for Mother’s Day, but it was the cherry on top of an excellent weekend.  A new bike riding season, indeed.

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