Monday, September 10, 2012

In Which I Ramble About Bicycles Again

I won't try to deny the truth; nobody looks cute sweating in a bicycle helmet.

On the other hand, I feel like if anything ever happens my brain will thank me deeply for wearing one.

Although if I start actually hearing my brain thank me, there might be bigger issues going on.

Today is absolutely gorgeous - clear blue skies, warm sun, cool breeze. We had a huge cold front move through a few days ago, and while Saturday was in the 90's, Sunday was in the mid-80's, and today is even a little bit lower, I think. Yesterday was a busy, productive housework and work in the backyard day, and today I'll be taking care of stupid no-fun grown-up stuff like bill-paying and sweeping floors and trying to remember where I put things.

So I decided to take a bike ride first.

 I only made it a half-mile further than last time, but I'm still considering it a huge leap in progress because I only walked one quarter-mile-or-less stretch on the way back where there's a hill that sweeps upwards in this huge way and I am just not ready. My last bike ride, however, I probably walked almost a mile and a half of the seven mile bike ride - and this time I walked maybe a quarter-mile of a 7.5 mile bike ride.

So, progress.

... and angry legs. But we're going to focus on the progress.

Of course I had my music in, because I figured out the "safe place" I was storing my iPod shuffle thingie in. So that counts as an accomplishment right there. There are some songs that just push you on when you're starting to flag. I listened to Imagine Dragons, Florence & the Machine, The Decemberists, and Of Monsters and Men today. Go google them if they are unknown to you, still, somehow; they are all awesome.

The most important thing I can tell you about bike riding, the all-encompassing truth, is this:

There is absolutely nothing in the world like a huge hill that you are riding down on; there is wind in the hair, sure; the lack of a need to pedal, and the constant uptick in speed until you're not sure you could stop if you wanted to. All of that is wonderful.

But the most wonderful part is that your brain is still the same brain people had 15,000 years ago - and that part of your brain can't stop the thrill of adrenaline and happiness at realizing that you are the creature moving so fast, that this is you moving as fast as a horse at full speed, if only for a moment, and you are not in a car - you did this yourself, on an invention you power yourself.

For that few seconds, you are a kid again, and the whole world slows down just for you.

That, my friends, is why people drive convertibles; because they want that wind-in-the-hair, reckless abandonment that is most intense when you are eight years old flying downhill on a bicycle with only the vaguest control of where you're going, when you're young enough that you're not really scared of the risk, but you're old enough to know there is one.

Or maybe the endorphin rush has gone to my head.

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