Two-Wheeled Time Machine

Since I have started this blog in January, I watch out for phrases, comments or things I read that  will generate a post.  When I know the source though, I like to give credit where credit is due.  I was reading one of the many excellent stories written by Joe Kurmaskie, the Metal Cowboy, when I read that  a bike is like a time machine.  Once you throw your legs over a bike, you can’t help but remember some of the times you had as a kid riding your first bikes.

I was reminded of this phrase from Joe while commuting home on my bike Friday after work.  It was a great day!  After getting drenched on Thursday with a driving rain, it was warm, sunny and nice.  This means I was feeling good on the bike, pushing it a little, doing a little bike dancing to the music in my head, and having a great time.

During the ride, I saw two different riders that drove the time machine point home to me.

The first was a little kid, maybe 4 or 5.  This kid was pedaling like you would not believe, and had a HUGE smile on his face.  I could tell there were no worries in this kids head.  Mom was behind him jogging, pushing a jogging stroller.  As I passed him I yelled “Cool bike pal!” and his smile got bigger.

I will tell you I have had this smile recently on long down hills, when I have my hands nowhere near the brakes and I am FLYING like the wind!  Its a great feeling!  This is what I hope all of us felt as we were learning to ride or exploring the world on our bikes, and it’s what this little guy has ahead of him!

I said I ran into two people though. The second was an elderly gentleman I’d guess in his 80s, on a 3 wheeler, pedaling down the road to my house.  He was NOT going fast.  In fact, what I assume was his wife was walking next to him and keeping pace.  So in essence, the exact opposite of the little kid I saw.  With one exception: the smile.

It took me a while to figure this out.  I could tell there was something reminding me the kid.  This guy had an ear to ear grin!  Why?  I can only assume it was because he was on his bike, exploring the neighborhood, just like the little guy.  Once he straddled that thing, he went back in time, and he found the little kid that used to ride everywhere.  Who knows how mobile he in on foot, but now on a bike…  I nodded to him, just as I do all riders, and he nodded back, but again his grin got bigger.  I’d like to think it was because I acknowledged him as a peer.

I don’t know if its magic, bike karma, or the greek god of bikes that makes this happen when one rides.. When I ran or hiked, even though I enjoyed it, I didn’t have flashes of being a kid.  When I drive a car, its mundane, I can drive for hours, but it doesn’t transport me back to 16 when I learned how to drive.

Cycling is unique in this way.  And Friday renewed my hope for the future.  Lord knows I will never be a little one learning to ride for the first time ever again.  Hell, my next big milestone is when I get too old to drive safely and I have to give up my license.  These two people showed me (old and young) that no matter what, as long as I can sit and move the bike by pedaling, that I will ALWAYS be known as THE WIND!

Its summer time everybody, get out there and ride, and remember what it feels like to be a kid!

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