Yesterday, the day, fresh and warm and gorgeous, beckoned me, “Come play!”
I answered. My bike, with flattened tires and dusty body, sat stoically behind winter storage-the wicker chairs and pillows, the planter, the shovel, and an assortment of other items. Ugh!
Determinedly, wiggling this item, moving that item, scooching the other thing, I managed to roll out my royal blue Peugeot. It’s like an old friend; we know one other well The seat is comfy; the handlebars are adjusted just right; and the frame is perfect for 5’3” me. I wonder where that pump could be? Usually, my husband and I ride over the rolling hills along the bike trail to a lakeside deli that overlooks a marina together, but today, my husband is working. I think I can do this by myself this time. After wasting a good bit of time looking for the elusive pump, I decided to call my husband’s work.
“Do you know where the pump is?” I asked.
“Are you going on a bike ride?” he answered, somewhat disappointedly. I knew he wished he was free to ride along.
“I know I’m out of shape so I thought I would just go on a little ride. Maybe 20 minutes or so. Do you think it will be OK? Both the tires are flat, though,” I added. The last time I rode by myself, I got a flat tire and had to be rescued by the sag wagon. The bike dealer had repaired the rim, noticing that there had been little metal shards that sliced the tire.
“I think if you go 20 minutes without any problems, you should be ok. The pump is over to the left of the garbage cans. Have fun!” he added wistfully.
The yellow pump was shortly attached to my tires. Pushing down easily and quickly at first, it became harder and harder until, at last, I was using my entire body weight to force the air in. Reaching out with my right hand, I squeezed each tire hard. Neither was mushy or soft. I’m good to go! Quickly, I detached the pump and put it away.
Just to be sure I didn’t overdo my very first ride after a long winter’s biking hiatus, I set the stopwatch on my iPhone for 24 minutes. Twenty-four minutes out, turn around, and come back home.. The return trip for me is traditionally a bit longer. Max time about 45 or 50 minutes. Just get my legs warmed up for the season.
Click! My chin strap latched as I put on my helmet. On slipped my gloves, first the left and then the right.. Right foot on right petal. I’m off. Looking both ways, I navigate out the driveway onto the suburban road in front of our house.
The saying, “It’s like riding a bike,” is so true. My bike and I start to fly along in perfect harmony, just as if my bike hadn’t been waiting patiently all winter long for me to come play. The unseasonably warm day, 55 degrees to be exact, brought more than just me out. I think every two-legged creature alive was out walking, and many with their four-pawed friends. Couples with pouchies. Moms with strollers. Parents with children. Joggers. Bikers. Scooterers. Is that a word? Oh, I don’t care. The air was fresh and clean and it breathed new life into my winter-weary soul. As I slowed to cross one road after another, I noticed I didn’t even have to stop. No one was driving their cars! All werel out, like me, soaking up this seasonal medicine.
My alarm, annoyingly, started to ring, reminding me that I must turn around. Seeing a little turn-around spot along the bike trail, about halfway down the hill I”d been zooming down, I slowed my bike and sharply turned the handles. Time to head for home.
The return trip was full of delights. Two cardinals-one a brownish female with just a hint of red and the other a male wearing his scarlet robes twittered a merry hello as I glided by. Then, a pond slipped by, complete with a goose and her goslings swimming in an orderly line…like children following a teacher. Rabbits hopped from bush to bush; squirrels scampered here and there. All were out-human and creature alike.
I slowed as I spotted a familiar gray house with its red door and inviting forsythia wreath.. Carefully, I steered into the driveway and came to a gently stop. Reaching behind me, I unzipped the pouch in my neon yellow windbreaker where my iPhone was ticking off the minutes. I checked it. Twenty-eight minutes return trip. That figures! A little pride puffs up inside me, I know pride goes before a fall, but I am happy with my accomplishment- this little goal for the day. I can’t wait for the second ride of the season!