Monday, October 18, 2010

The last ride


After some serious whining convincing, my husband headed out on a bike ride with me yesterday afternoon. I said things like, "Aww c'mon" and "One last time for old time's sake." It worked. We dropped our obligations and football games and headed out on a familiar ride together. It was a lengthy 17-mile ride and it was worth the effort of every whiny word that came out of my mouth. The weather was perfect, the ride was enjoyable and the scenery? Ah yes, the scenery. It was breathtaking: the leaves are right at that point where they are gorgeous and still clinging to the trees.

I love to run, but there's just something about riding a bicycle that makes me feel alive. I don't know if it's the danger, the speed or the wind in my face, but it just has a way of pulling me in. At our house, bike rides are a staple in the summer months. We head out for hours together on our road bikes, discovering new rural routes, tiny little forgotten towns and fending off strange dogs. It's our thing. So yesterday, I decided we needed to end outdoor bike season on a picture-perfect fall day. It seemed fitting.

We headed out on familiar routes, breezed through our local park and admired the changing leaves. It was the perfect ending to our summer of bicycle rides. But, there is always a moment in every ride where I'm convinced that I'm going to die. You know, like when I am oogling some pretty house and my bike almost goes off the road and into a ditch or the weird rock that throws my front wheel into a tailspin or that car of teenagers gets just a bit too close.  It happens a lot. Luckily, I've never been seriously injured on my bike.

The thing I love most about riding a bicycle isn't the exercise (though my rear and thighs would tell you differently today) it's the tiny moments that make me feel completely free. They usually occur in the midst of a free-fall down some outlandishly large hill at 23-ish MPH. There are a few of these hills on our usual routes, and they always cause the same rush of emotions: complete fear of death and disaster, followed by complete peace and freedom. You know the feeling: the moment when you're free falling and you think you're going to crash and burn, but you will yourself into the freedom of the moment instead. I often close my eyes, if only for a moment, just to soak in that feeling. It's just a few moments, really. But it makes pushing through that "certain death" feeling worth it. Because it's so amazing.

We've now hung our bikes away in the garage. Until next year. But it sure was nice to go out on a high note.

1 comment:

The Bipolar Diva said...

I wish I could still ride a bike :(
I hurt my knee and can't do it any longer. Going out on a high note is a very good thing!

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