My bicycle is much more than two tires, a body of carefully fused metal, and a seat. It embodies a way of life.
My bicycle can only be operated in a forward motion; peddling backwards will get me nowhere, expect for maybe face down on the pavement, with possible bruising to my limbs and ego. It doesn’t come equipped with a rearview mirror; I can only focus on the road ahead of me. My bicycle isn’t powered by diesel or unleaded gasoline. Nor is it energized by neatly arranged rows of solar panels or a bulky steam engine. I alone set my bicycle in motion. The chain of command begins from my brain, works with rigid precision through my abdominals and hips, then finalizes with a fluid transition to my legs and feet, and I’m on my way. I can only hold myself back. I choose my path and I choose my destiny. Closed roads, traffic jams, and construction don’t necessarily affect me; I can take alternative routes: sidewalks, roads, back lanes, and paths
Preparation is paramount when it comes to riding my bicycle. I need to ensure that I’m dressed appropriately for the weather. I also need to bring equipment to repair a flat tire or to lubricate a rusty chain. Being unprepared can lead to problems, obstacles, and to despair. It’s also beneficial to have a general idea of where I need to be going. A focus, if you will.
The difference between traveling in a vehicle, like a car or truck, and a bicycle, is that in a vehicle, you’re purely an observer. “Look out the window, kids”, is also something my Mom would suggest to my siblings and I on summer road trips. On a bicycle, you’re experiencing the elements as a tree would during a thunderstorm.
My bicycle is an extension of how I want to live my life. I want to move forward. I don’t want to dwell on the past; I would rather learn from it. I want to have a clear direction of where my life is headed. Working hard and being prepared are key components in helping me forge my existence. More than anything, however, I want to experience life. I don’t want to remain on the sidelines as a casual observer. I have my bicycle to thank for that. And for that I am grateful.