Ridin' down ol' two mile hill
Tennis shoes up on the handlebars
Payin' no mind to the passin' cars
No doubts, no fears...."
Ah, nothing like a good ol' Randy Travis song to say it like it is.
I remember those days well. There was nothing like the freedom one felt speeding along on a bide as a kid.
Freedom. That's what I felt more than anything. I could go places quickly; I could explore the town; I could feel quite grown up and independent. Nothing was quite as liberating.
I have often thought about those days of riding over to main street, to friends' houses, to summer band camp with a clarinet case balanced precariously on the handle bars as I steered with one hand.
I never remember feeling like it was exercise. It was just fun. It was just freedom. It was just...well in the past!
How times have changed.
Recently as an anniversary gift, my husband bought me a new bike. It is beautiful. It is fancy. It has all the bells and whistles one could want in a bike, minus an annoying bike bell. I am set.
Hmmm. Just a minute. If I want to go to main street, I have an easier way. If I want to go to a friend's house, I can go in the air-conditioned convenience of my car. Freedom, I do not lack. Liberation, I do not need.
So what did I think I needed a bike for.
Problem is I live in a city built on hills. My neighborhood has so many ups and downs it is impossible to even go around the block without encountering heart-pumping obstacles.
A few years ago my husband and I rented bicycles at the Santa Monica Pier and rode along the beach without a care in the world. On a perfectly flat sidewalk, I did get a glimpse of the freedom I had enjoyed as a kid. I believe I could have gone on for miles. And I believe that was in the back of my mind as I anxiously picked out my new beauty of a bike.
Imagine my embarrassment when the first time out for a ride around the neighborhood, I ended up having to walk my bike home, with my tail between my quivering, wobbly legs.
So I guess I need to re-evaluate my strategy. Forty years has put me at a different place. I may be a little smarter and wiser now (that's debatable), but I certainly am carrying more of a burden than my soft muscles and shallow lungs can handle.
"Took a little time to get up to speedTo find the confidence and the strength I'd need
To just let go and reach for the sky
You know, sometimes it felt I could fly....."
I guess I need to listen to Randy Travis a little more, realize that it won't happen overnight nor without loading up the bike to go find some flatlands. But I am determined not to give up. I have had just enough taste of the past to crave that freedom again.
"It doesn't take muchAnd I'm a kid again.
I can almost feel that wind..."
Sadly, it's all uphill from here.