Monday, December 08, 2008

iBike, therefore I'm not

While reflecting on why I was feeling melancholy the other day, I came to the realization it was because I miss riding.

My earliest bike riding memories are that of my shiny red Raleigh with white wall tires and matching basket. Once I entered high school, I traded my bike in for platform heels and public transit. I was far too cool to ride a bike.

It wasn't until sometime in 1989 that I rode again, when Jesee went out and bought us (*ugh*) matching bikes. It was my maiden voyage out on the bike when we took it out for a spin on the running track at the local park. I was bored after a few rounds, so decided that I would ride off in search of something more interesting. As I sped down a grassy hill, Jesee's screams for me to slow down were barely audible. What happened next turned me off cycling for many years to come. I sped down the hill at full speed and could not stop in time to avoid the three-foot ditch that awaited me at the bottom. Plaff! Over the bars I went and knocked the wind out of myself.

About ten years later, Jeeee surprised me with a new bike. It was a lovely forest green Peugeot hybrid. I was still traumatized by the ditch incident, so this bike sat in the garage for months before I would even look at it, much less ride it. With about as much patience as a man could have teaching his wife to drive a manual transmission up a hill on a snowy afternoon, he rode alongside me in the back alley coaching me on how to change gears. I couldn't wrap my head around the mechanics of shifting and actually suggested that I write it all down on a Post-it note and attach it to the stem - not so cool.

So I learned to ride a bike again (do we ever forget?) and although it was a little more complicated than my one-speed Raleigh, I was up for the challenge. Since I wasn't fond of playing in traffic, Jesee introduced me to trail riding, which led me to taking a Women's Only Mountain Bike course. This changed everything for me. I gained so much confidence and acquired so many new skills that I took to it like a house on fire. The thrill-seeker within me was unleashed.

Learning to mountain bike was the best thing that happened for us. It was our "couples" thing to do, we lived to ride and rode to live every chance we had. Sharing the passion and exhilaration kept us bonded. Since the accident this has all changed, for any "riding to live" is kept to a minimum because Jesee hasn't completely recovered from the injuries he sustained from an involuntary game of Hit and Run.

I miss riding.