Tuesday, June 3, 2014

my thoughts on the bike

I want a bike. Some of my best moments were spent on a bike, my trusted partner in escape from the social complexities of being a teen-ager in the 60's, a Kelly green baby with a tiny 24-inch tire span, some nameless brand, not like the Schwinns my well-to-do neighbors rode, I don't know where my dad dug it up. I became one with the wind when saddling this princess and spent glorious hours away from home, far away from the shenanigans of three crazy Animal House brothers and a mother who said I never got her house clean enough.

The last time I rode that beauty was in college. "1-2-3-4 WE DON'T WANT YOUR FUCKING WAR . . ."  Sometimes the militants brought donuts so it was worth showing up and a lot of the boys were really cute, yes, I was so serious about politics.  I rode a bike one other time. My brother had a pseudo farm in Wisconsin, he raised rabbits for their meat and I think the little hares knew about it. They rustled nervously when I entered their barn. And there in the corner was a crotchety old piece of a bike. And I didn't know the brakes were useless until I smashed noisily into a bale of rusty barb wire, just another trip to the ER and a tetanus shot. I go there a lot but that's another story.

My favorite brother steers me to his local bike shop and you need to know this about my favorite brother. He is an extreme athlete and he has biked so long and so hard that he has an enlarged heart and his doctors plead with him, less time on the bike, weirdo. Anyway the bike specialists came at me like I'm a trainee for an astronaut program.  My brother has phoned them in advance, she's old but she's in good shape, yeap, thanks.

I am bashful and insecure about my ability to ride this bike. I never had to deal with 24 gears and hand brakes.  Would your brother help you with the whole bike riding thing or would he just give you a rash of crappy? the bike salesman sincerely asks.  Crappy rash, I answer. Do you want me to call him? No, not at this point. But then I think, he can be paternal, I respond, remembering how he coached me through facebook and blogspot, me a computer novice as we shared my mother's deathwatch. It beat crying and breast beating.

And then came Helen. My husband likes to discuss all the details of our married life to the world and he told Helen, an established cyclist at his vets' center that I was having trouble. It is my observation that anyone named Helen is a dependable sort, steadfast and true, not particularly exciting or interesting, but a stable personality none the less. And this Helen fits that bill. So we agree to meet up, a cycle lesson for me. Her husband Paul comes along, for no good reason that I can see. "Yeah, my bike cost $1600 and I've already rode 40 miles this morning," he tosses off.  Well, good for you, you self-absorbed egotistical yuppie and your hairless legs are making me nauseous. He tells me he's an engineer and you just know he's trouble.  He's all about the science of the bike ride and I prefer to see the fairy tale side. We approach a scary downhill slant and he says, "here's what I want you to do. Coast half way down the hill and then start pedalling really fast."  Wha-a-a-, my brain is whirling, ABORT MISSION, ABORT MISSION, danger Will Robinson, DANGER!

To be continued . . .

3 comments:

Arizaphale said...

Coast and then pedal? It does not compute!!!!!!

Dan said...

Agreed. Coast to a fast speed and then pedal yourself wobbly, fall down and leave half your skin on the road. Whaaaaat?!!!!

Really. Sometimes I wonder how some people breathe, see and smell with their head so deeply ensconced up their ......

BrightenedBoy said...

I'd like to hear some more about those crazy college days!