BIKE: a vehicle with two wheels tandem, handlebars for steering, a saddle seat, and pedals by which it is propelled
If my six-year-old self was selecting a bumper sticker that communicated a love of freedom, it would be a banana seat bicycle with streamers. As a child, having a bike meant the ability to ride to the store two miles up the road with cash in my pocket for a banana/caramel milkshake. My bike provided a healthy dose of risk-taking and independence. The neighbor kids and I would build jumps and ride in circles for hours. Wheels of the free; spokes of the brave.
In high-school, I didn’t do much (read: any) biking. Nevertheless, I agreed to join a team from my church that was doing the STP – Seattle to Portland. I was fit and active. How hard could it be to ride 200 miles?
[Two decades later, I now know that “How hard can it be?” questions are accurately answered “Very!” 9 times out of 10.]
The morning of the STP, I hopped on my bike with precisely 43 miles of training under my belt butt and the confidence that comes with supreme ignorance. Reality soon burst my bubble. By the end of the day, just thinking about sitting on the bike seat again made me wince. In the end, I did the less-well-known STC – Seattle To Chehalis. I called my mom, admitted defeat, and gratefully accepted a ride home.
In college, my buddy-turned-boyfriend-turned-buddy was an avid biker and I did my best to keep up. He taught me how to ride a bike down a flight of stairs. It’s not a skill I’ve found much use for, but I’m glad I could do it in a pinch. Together, we took an ill-advised January camping trip on our bikes that involved a lot of rain, eating ramen by the heat of the women’s restroom hand dryers, and (once again) sore haunches.
Since college, I’ve always owned a bike…generally one with pristine tire treads. Each season, the sun comes out and I pump up my tires and take a ride. Then, my butt hurts and I put the bike away until the next season. Rinse. Repeat.
We’ve put a man on the moon. Can we really not make a more comfortable bike seat?
When Husband challenged me to participate in bike to work month, I got psycho-somatic saddle sores. But, I agreed to try it.
That was a week ago. Now I’m hooked. I’ve biked to the office every work day since May 1st. The ride only takes me 15 minutes longer than my usual bus. In exchange for the extra 15 minutes I get fresh air, exercise, beautiful views, and sore haunches. On balance, it’s a win.