When I was too young to ride a bike, I would run to keep up with my brother and the neighborhood kids. They would peel off down the dirt roads of Wouri Township of the Iron Range, with me not too far behind, legs burning to stay with them. When I was old enough to start riding, it only took one try. My dad let go of the purple banana seat and off I went down the driveway on my Huffy with the pink rose decals. That was my first taste of freedom. My first love of speeds faster than my legs could carry me running. I was hooked.
Those feelings still stay with me to this day. The energy and power that I feel while biking is hard to compete against. I’ve been riding more lately, a lot more. A bout of plantar fasciitis from trail running has resurrected my love affair with my two-wheeler. I’m consumed by all things biking. Every road I see, every hill, every path, every empty parking lot whispers my name. I wanna ride it all. Last night while biking the Munger, I shot off across Grand Avenue to whip shitties in an empty parking lot—hopping curbs, doing figure-eights, flying across grassy lawns. I was having a blast. I biked a little further west and found one of the steepest hills in town. Let’s go! Up and up I went. Switch-backing it when my legs were burning. But, boy did I love the burn and the view was awesome at the top! The ride down was even better, feeling like a bird and a kid again.
I’ve been commuting to work more often on my bike, too. It’s easily the BEST part of my day, of my week. I’m growing more confident on the ride down each time. I love racing the cars down the hill and across the bridge down onto Railroad Street, tears streaking my face from the speed. And when I finally break out onto the lakewalk in the morning, it takes my breath away each and every time. I wanna keep riding and not go to work. “Just keep going,” I tell myself. The ride home is such a fun challenge, too. I’m seeing improvement there as well in my stamina and leg strength. Getting yelled or honked at is also a highlight of the ride. It makes me laugh most of the time. I throw my head back and just laugh at their twisted faces and gestures while the wind whips across my face. They’re suckers for being stuck in their vehicles and depriving themselves of such wind-whipped joy! If only they biked more often, maybe then they would realize the love that a bike ride instills in their veins. And, wouldn’t it be great if they still honked and yelled, but for recognizing that freedom instead of the latter! Some day…
In the meantime, I continue to ride. I’m looking into purchasing a new ride for myself. Something a little faster, a little more agile, a little more attitude. It’s only a matter of time!