Monday, April 13, 2015

Ready to ride

I have a new bike — new to me, anyway. It’s actually old, but then so am I. The way I figure it, we’re a perfect match.

Although I’ve always enjoyed riding a bicycle, I haven’t been biking for 23 years. I gave up on pedaling after we moved from Kissimmee to Groveland. As wonderful as it is to live in a secluded rural setting far away from city streets, the bumpy, unpaved roads are not conducive to two-wheeled romps around the neighborhood.

Like most kids of my era, I spent countless hours on my trusty one-speed. During my elementary years, my bailiwick was limited to one road: Orchard Way. Our family lived at the bottom of that dead-end street, and I was allowed to bike to the top of the road and coast to the bottom. Although generally an obedient child, when it came to bicycles, I found their promise of freedom impossible to ignore. I often ventured beyond permitted boundaries.

I can’t recall what kind of bike I had in high school, but it was probably a three-speed because I remember long rides through the countryside. I believe my passion for exploring back roads began on the seat of a bicycle as I rode farther and farther away from my home.

Much changed after my 19th birthday. I was in college, living away from my parents, discovering new areas and meeting new people, including my future husband Ralph. One of our first purchases together was a pair of his-and-her Peugeot multi-speeds, fancy wheels that would take us on long rides around Long Island, N.Y., until I finished college, then on to Cape Cod where we settled and built our first home. We put many miles on those road bikes both before and after we started a family.

Our Cape Cod property abutted an extensive bike trail and was a short ride away from a state park. After our first two children were born, I carted them behind my Peugeot in one of the first models of bike buggies to hit the market. That bike buggy was a lifesaver. Taking the kids for a ride was a surefire way to get them asleep, thereby guaranteeing me at least an hour of much-needed alone time.

Two toddlers, one baby and a stuffed animal fast asleep in the bike buggy
(Circa 1983)

When our family relocated to Florida in 1987, we settled in a quiet residential community in Kissimmee with paved roads and minimal traffic. Around that time I also became the owner of a girl’s banana bike. It had one speed, small wheels, tall handlebars and a seat — its best feature — that was long, soft and comfortable. My 5-foot 3-inch frame fit comfortably on the bike, which probably was meant for a child. It was the perfect vehicle for pedaling out to get the mail, to cruise over to visit a neighbor or to hop on at night for a leisurely ride around the block. I might have looked silly, but I sure did love riding that rusty red bike.

Like that long-ago relic, my new-to-me bicycle is also comfortable, fun to ride and lacking in bells and whistles. Ralph and I each purchased simple, inexpensive, wheels to use at the beach to ride on hard sand and pedal around a seaside town we enjoy visiting.

Looking forward to biking at the beach

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved riding a bicycle and for the past 23 years, it’s something I’ve missed. They say absence make the heart grow fonder — it will be nice to get back on a bike again.

No comments:

Post a Comment