Freedom Machine

I’ve been dreaming of riding my bike lately. Gary (my bike) was my best companion this past summer and I find that I miss the wind whipping through my hair and the feelings of complete freedom that it provided. I wanted to ride my bike every day last summer and I just about did. Part of me wishes that I kept track of the miles, but that doesn’t even begin to compare to the utter joy that pulsed through my veins on my morning commute down the hill or back up for that matter. I would roll around all day on my days off, enjoying the sunshine and feeling the trail zip along beneath my pedals. One day I rode 55 miles. It was one of my best days of 2014. I had to push my bike up 40th Avenue West at the end. Arms red as lobsters from the sun and knees aching from all the rotations. Cars honking and waving as I lugged my bike up the hill; and me waving and smiling back. It was absolutely thrilling and exhausting. I can’t wait for more days like that in 2015.

My neighbor kids (boys aged 4 and 7) came over Saturday morning and we had a snowball fight in the backyard. I saw them eyeing up my garden shed and they asked if they could look inside. I got out the key and opened it up. There was Gary all muddied up just as I left him in early November. (I probably should have rinsed him off before tucking him away for the winter). One of the kids yelled out, “That bike is dirty!” I replied, “Yeah, isn’t it awesome?!” They both nodded their heads in unison.

Sometimes I wonder what my neighbor kids think of me. They always tell me I have too many rocks in my house, too many sticks, too many pieces of beach glass, my shoes are too muddy and that I should invest in a snowblower and quit shoveling. But they seem intrigued by my state of living at the same time. And they sure love getting a shiny agate every time they drop by. They reach their little hands into my agate jar and ask if they can keep one. Maybe when they get a little older they’ll see the value in a muddy bike, dozens of rocks lining the shelves in their rooms, or shoveling the old fashioned way. These small things serve as memories of adventures, activities that build character and glimpses of another world that exists outside of my front yard.

I can’t remember where I was going with this post exactly, but I guess I just wanted to say that I simply miss my bike. And seeing it locked up this weekend reminded me of a lot of good adventures (and misadventures) I had this past summer. Learning to ride long days alone and difficult terrain built some character in me. I felt challenged in a different way than I ever have before in my life. Maybe I miss that a little bit, too.

Checking out the sunset in Lester.

Stopping to admire the sunset in Lester.

Mission Creek at its finest in the fall.

Mission Creek at its finest in the fall.

Meeting friends on the trail.

Meeting friends on the Munger Trail. Gary photobombing in the background.

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