If you ask anyone I know, they will probably tell you I am not too complexed. I am known for saying what is on my mind (though at times it is NOT the appropriate time) I laugh at almost anything, and I go with the flow. What you see is what you get…
However, at times, I am like a duck on a pond. What you can see is calmly floating along, but underneath that ole mallard is kicking for all its worth. Sometimes that’s me. Outwardly I am the goofball who walks around the office with a yoyo, but inside the head is just a pondering away.Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much different my life would be if I hadn’t started riding a bike.
Ever since this little guy got his first bike
I can remember having big ideas. In the second grade, I very badly wanted to drop the training wheels and ride free. I had friends who rode all over the trailer park we lived in. To my 7-year-old logical mind, I thought if I had a ‘2 wheeler’ I could do the same! Many, many scratches, scrapes and crashes later, I finally made it to the end of the road, turned around, and came back! From that day on, I was a big boy bike rider!
In fact, soon after that, I met my first ‘best friend’ on the bike. I was riding through a narrow path behind the Laundromat, and ran smack into Donald Godby. (I think that was his name!) We became fast friends after that, and rode everywhere! (Well, within the 3 roads and one cul de sac of the park!)
Later on Fort Lewis, Ed Dahl, Sylvester Cruz and I would seriously ride all over the base. Tank trails, roads, across parade fields, and to the army obstacle courses. We drank out of hoses, ate whatever snacks we snuck out of the house, and avoided our younger siblings at all costs. The bike was freedom, it was life and it was dreams. I’da sold my kid sister before I sold my bike! (sorry Annie)
High School Tony always had big plans for bikes….
We were going to get up early and ride all the way to Mt Rainier!
It was only 50 miles away, but how hard could a 100 mile round trip be!
We were going to ride the back roads all the way to Seattle and go to the Space Needle
It was 50 miles the other way, but hell, if we made it Rainier how hard could this be.
Alas, neither these, or the other huge plans ever came to be. We grew up, got cars, and went out merry ways. I always had a bike, but I never rode more than 10 miles at any one time for years on end.
2008 hit, I gave up trying to climb that big assed mountain, and discovered again what put a smile on that 2nd graders face.
On a bike, no matter how stressful life can be, I am happy. In 2008 the first marriage was in the process of ending, but no matter how tense things were, the bike made me smile
That year, not only did I ride TO Seattle, I rode ALL the way to Portland! Hell, later on that year, I made it to California!
The feeling of freedom in the saddle has never left. When I was stressed as hell after being laid off at work, the bike helped keep me sane. When the Manchild or Mathmajor have driven me nuts over the years, the bike has calmed me down (and may have saved their lives!)
Oh, and remember the Mt Rainier bike ride from way back, I have ridden to it MANY times! That goal from the much younger me has been put to bed!
I will be honest, there have been times I’ve honestly thought about hanging up the bike and retiring. I could sit on my ass, read more, watch TV, eat a lot, and just get fat and sassy. No more sore legs, frozen fingers or riding in the rain.
But then, because of work, kids, or other stuff, a week goes by without I get twitchy, Michelle says I get cranky and she says “GO RIDE! NOW!” Two miles into it, the strife fades, and I am me again!
Ladies and gents, who knows how many more years I can do something like the Crater Lake Century
Or High Pass Challenge. Hell, there could come a day when I can’t do 100 miles in a day if you paid me.
But, when I see my neighbor with serious memory issues riding his trike to the store, with a huge smile on his face, I know one thing. No matter what, as long as this chubby old body can sit in the saddle and pedal a straight line, I will always be a cyclist. I want the wind in my hair, the smile on my face, and yep, even the bugs in my teeth until I make that final ride into the sunset.
I am not sure why everyone is not affected by the bike like I am. I wish I could share it with others. But, to be a bit selfish, if everyone can’t experience it, I am glad I can!
Like the wind!!