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Friday, June 12, 2015

An Ordinary Bicycle Ride

"It was a very ordinary day, the day I realized that
my becoming is my life and my home and that I 
don't have to do anything but trust the process, trust my
story, and enjoy the journey."
Charlotte Eriksson

After making sure that all the cats are where they should be, bellies full and content, quite anticipating their morning nap, I grab my bicycle and slip out the door into the arms of the burgeoning dawn and his cool embrace. There is a bit of a chill in his caress, but it is unlike the chill of fall and winter that plagues you whenever you are lolling or not pedaling rapidly or climbing a hill. It is a welcome chill that brushes my skin and raises small goose bumps.  I relish it knowing that by this afternoon it will be but a memory, a half forgotten dream, even something longed for. By this afternoon, the air will be sticky, thick, and hot. The summer months are male months, hot, lusty, desiring, and demanding, sometimes wanting more than I can give.  But as of yet, summer has not claimed the mornings:  they remain fresh and spring-like.  Even the afternoons have not yet reached the intensity that is August. 

I have my backpack on for my 16 mile ride to work.  It is a backpack my son used to tote to school many years ago, but still serviceable.  As I have told the cats many times when they look at me like a traitor when I leave, somebody has to go to work to make money to buy cat food. I have offered to stay home and nap and let one of them fill in for me, but so far no takers;-)  (And we call them dumb animals.)  I don't really get to see the magnificent transformation that is dawn other than in my rear view mirror for on my rides to work as with my life I am heading west, but I know it is there, just as I know I was once young. 

Yet again, to be on the safe side I have slapped on a light and I think about the obsession that randonneurs have with lighting for their bicycles.  I have a box full of different tail lights and head lights, some useful and some not so useful, but each bought with great hope that they would help me find my way.  The eternal quest for the perfect light!  A light bright enough to be seen by all, but not so bright as to annoy or even endanger a rider behind  you.  A light bright enough to guide your way and not be outrun on the downhills but that has enough staying power to make it worth taking your bike out the door.

I have different ways of attaching lights, particularly since my handlebars are narrow and any extra room is taken up by my handle bag bar.    The lights have different power sources:  batteries that have to be charged at an outlet, regular batteries, and hub generators.  And I seem to never get rid of them, but become attached to them, to prefer each for different rides and circumstances.  Indeed, I still have my first hub generator that I used at PBP in 2007, the kind where the light dims or goes out on hills because you are not pedaling hard enough.  It also has bulbs that must be replaced and cannot be touched directly with your fingers or the oil causes them to quit working.

But with lights you can find your way.  I remember the comfort that came with finally knowing that even if I got lost on a ride, I was strong enough to continue riding for a long, long time.  As I once told Grasshopper on a ride where we lost our way, much to his amusement, "If you ride long enough, you come out somewhere."  And I guess somewhere is usually okay.  Mark Twain advised us to "Enjoy life.  There is plenty of time to be dead." And with lights you can ride at night.  Sometimes I think people ride brevets merely because it is so very pleasant to ride at night.  There is almost something magical about it.  Yet for some reason, I seldom do it unless there is the excuse of a brevet, and I know many like me in that area.

I miss Lloyd dreadfully and I fear I always will:  my life remains in darkness and the beginning efforts of friends to "fix me up" with someone falls on deaf ears,  but I guess I must just trust God and the process.   Just as important, I need to start learning to enjoy the journey, even if this part of the ride is alone.  After I, I will come out somewhere. And whether I want to or not, I will become.....?

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