As some of you know, I bought a bicycle in March, my first one in over twenty years. However, owing to a long and harsh winter, including snow in the last week of April, I wasn’t able to ride my new bike until last weekend.
Now, though, I’m trying to go for a short ride daily and am already seeing my neighbourhood, and myself, in new ways.
Up and down hills
A dear friend calls me “Jen up the hill” in reference to the distance between her home and mine.
However, until I got on my bicycle and felt the pressure in the backs of my legs when pedaling, I didn’t truly appreciate that the slow rise I encounter when walking Floppy Ears is indeed a hill.
I also discovered a new-to-me downhill slope by the stop sign at the corner of a nearby road and learned how to use my brakes in a hurry.
It’s like riding a bike
Although I was wobbly at first, both my muscle memory and balance soon returned and biking was as I remembered it with the wind against my face and joy of being on two wheels.
As a child, I learned to ride a bike using an older friend’s two-wheeler and still remember my excitement when the training wheels came off and I stayed upright while whizzing along the pavement.
I had the same feeling last Sunday afternoon, one of a skill learned long ago but never forgotten.
A new perspective
Having once been comfortable riding a bike with no hands, something that fills adult me with horror, so far I haven’t been brave enough to remove even one hand from the handlebars to wave at neighbours.
And while potholes, pedestrians, dogs and squirrels are now hazards, I also now have a mental map of bicycle racks in my small town, am rejoicing in cycling trails I’d hardly been aware of previously and have even spotted cute bike-themed garden decor.
Cycling in middle-age
As a teenager too young to drive and in a one-car family, I biked to visit friends and get to places that would have otherwise involved a long walk or bus ride.
Nowadays, with a car in the driveway and many places I want to go in easy walking distance, I’m more conscious of biking to benefit my physical and mental health.
And while in my teenage years it wasn’t “cool” to have a basket, the salesclerk, close in age to English Rose, described my new bike and basket combination as “trendy vintage.”
It was only afterward I wondered if she was referring solely to me?!
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