I kinda lost myself (physical animal-wise) after my knee surgery. It didn’t help matters none that my entire life fell apart at pretty much the same time.
I tried to embrace cycling as an alternative to distance running. After all, I had been an avid cyclist in my youth. In fact, I was in my mid-thirties when I hand built a road racing bicycle sized to fit my peculiar geometry. I explored great lengths of asphalt in those days.
With marriage and a move back to a crowded urban environment, I lost my zest for cycling (a near fatal motorcycle accident cooled my ardor for two-wheeled locomotion in general). I became a distance runner. The road bike gathered dust. Lots of dust.
Fast forward two decades.
Marriage and knees shattered, I moved back to the land of corn and beans. It was the opportune time and place to saddle up. I tried. The road bike was a bit too much to handle, so I purchased a mild-mannered hybrid bike (yep, the one pictured). It’s admirably well-suited for my purposes. Unfortunately, my body no longer is.
While it’s true that one never forgets how to ride a bike, I can attest that one can certainly forget how to ride competently and safely. I had lost the knack. I was a terror to unsuspecting motorists and a mortal threat to myself. It didn’t help any that my hip is so corroded that mounting/dismounting that cleated-pedal bike constitutes a never-ending dramedy (ending, often enough, with me sprawled on pavement). In short, my forays on back roads weren’t exactly the serene life-enriching experiences I had hoped they’d be. And my butt hurt.
But what choice do we have as we age, except to ignore the suckage and forge ahead regardless?
And I came to discover (about one hour into my ride yesterday afternoon) that I had come to love these haphazard road adventures. It was a slow dawning.
My jaunts had been growing in time and distance. My pace has quickened. I sport the curious suntan of a cyclist (and, yes, I revel in my dark-bronze knees). My bike handling skills have improved to “barely competent,” a big step up from “WATCH OUT!”
Yesterday’s ride was the longest of the summer. I’m not exactly sure when I passed the point of no return and fell in love with the sport (again). I’m pretty sure it wasn’t moments after I inhaled that bug. But then there was the lemon-drop flash of a goldfinch. And I fell into a fugue about how satisfying the “plop” of a plump bullfrog flopping into one fulgent world from another. Then there was that pale yellow butterfly that danced in the back draft inches from my right shoulder. He/she/it kept me company for nearly half a mile. It was good for me. Was it good for the butterfly?
Well, to get back on point, I came home eager to ride again and again.