Memories of Bikes Past
Back in Gear
My son and I were in our local bicycle shop getting a bike for him. I saw new bikes all around me and I was amazed at how much they had changed. I scoffed at the complication. Who needs shock absorbers, 28 speeds and a gel seat? Then I realized who – I did. My old bike was willing. I wasn’t able. Soon enough there were two new bikes, one for my son and one for me. Then there was another one, this time for my wife.
What a summer it was. I rode by myself. I rode with my son. I rode with my wife and son. There were long rides and short rides. Rides on the street, rides on the trails. Sometimes I rode because I had to get somewhere, most times because I didn’t.
Time passes and things change. Old can become new again, although sometimes it shouldn’t. Throwing a Frisbee, eating brown rice, reading philosophy? No thanks. Listening to the blues? That never stopped. And now, thanks to an old bike and a new one, I’m a bicyclist again.
I was sometimes tempted to get rid of my old bike rather than cart it from house to house and consign it to a dark corner of the basement. But it meant something to me. I had been proud of it once. I still was. Thank heavens for that. If I hadn’t kept it, I wouldn’t be riding now. Of that I’m sure.
Even though I’ve got a new bike, I’ll keep my old one to remind me of simpler times and big ideas, of all the things that have changed and those that haven’t. Then I’ll get on my new one and go riding.
Back in Gear / Robert Jones – Globe and Mail Tuesday may 26, 2009
Illustration: Steve Adams for the Globe and Mail
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