The sky outside my window is a silvery spring gray, a perfect background to show off nature’s newest colors. Bright yellow daffodils and deep pink redbud blossoms are making their appearance. The landscape is changing quickly these days. And I am ready for it. A couple of weeks ago, we took our bikes out of storage, put air in the tires and gave them a once over. Now that the air is warmer, I am ready to get back in the saddle.
I have numerous friends who I call diehards. They ride their bikes in any kind of weather and just bundle and protect themselves as needed. I am that way with walking. But I draw the line with my bike. Yes, I don’t mind the unexpected rain shower and soak but if I know the weather is sunny, there is nothing like getting around town on my bike.
I remember the first bike I had after I gave up my kick scooter. In the summer, I often went for long bike rides on the roads around our house in Genval, Belgium. In the flat countries of Belgium and the Netherlands, bikes can outnumber cars. In July, for three weeks, I would religiously follow the last half hour of the Tour de France, rooting for my favorite cyclist, and then in a burst of inspiration, I would take off on my bike pretending to sprint to the finish line.
As soon as we arrived in this country, my dad bought me a ten speed bike. I wore it out biking in to school from our house on the winding county roads. Every now and then, dogs would run after me and I would go into sprint mode again. I even ventured out on US 33 with it when I was waitressing and there were no bike paths to my job location.
Then, I switched to an old Dutch bike. These one speed warriors fly if you let them loose. I like that I can sit upright with them instead of bent over the curled handlebars of the ten speed. All of my friends recognized that Dutch bike. It might have been the only one town, and the day it was stolen, I knew that would be in my favor. I told friends to be on the lookout for it and, sure enough, one of them saw someone riding it. I contacted the police and, with a photo that another friend had taken of it, was able to prove it was mine. Unfortunately, it came back to me stripped of some of the things that made it so fun to ride.
Now, I ride my three speed Trek Cocoa, a close second to the Dutch bike. And, these days, there are bike paths galore to bike. Nothing is more glorious than a ride on the Pumpkinvine, watching the seasons unfold. But even just to get around town, especially in these days of heavy road construction, a bike makes it a little more manageable. Wind in my hair, sun in my eye, I push on the pedals and I’m off. There is a certain freedom that makes me want to sing as I go. So, if you see me biking, you’ll know why I might be smiling!