Sunday, January 23, 2011

#7 Bicycle

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.   ~Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr.

I can't remember exactly which birthday I got my beautiful, new, shiny blue bicycle, but I do remember how much I loved it. It was a couple of summers before I could reach the pedals when I sat on the seat, but it was a much smoother ride than the little red two-wheeler, with the hard rubber tires, that I'd learned to ride on. That was a baby's bike... I was growing up.

A kid in the 60's had to have a bike.  We weren't driven everywhere like the kids today are.  My family only had one car and my father needed it to get to work.  Not that we had that many places to go... we never left our little neighborhood, but it opened up a whole new world of  imagination.  My friend Carol and I had a secret game where we'd pretend our bikes were motorcycles.  With playing cards clipped on the wheels with clothespins, we'd race up and down the street, to hear our 'motors' and stop now and then to conjure up some new adventure.  The best part was that the two of us shared a secret... no one else knew what we meant when we said we were playing "M".

When my son out-grew his bicycle, at least 15 years ago, I inherited it. It's got sturdy tires and speeds I don't even know how to use - I just play around with them until I can comfortably peddle and leave it there.  My husband put a nice, wide seat on it and now I use the bike for errands that are close to the house.  I like it - I get a little exercise and my shopping is limited to what I can fit in my basket.

My favorite, though, is to go down to the beach. Nice, long rides... sometimes we go north, sometimes we go south.  The path is smooth and mostly flat.  My husband could leave me in his dust, but he never does.  You see things that you'd never notice when you're flying by in a car. It's amazing how far you can go on so little energy. I think it's the perfect exercise for an un-fit person like me.