When I was a kid, I lived on my bike. After all, it was my only source of transportation. It spelled freedom from my parents. We rode everywhere. Being close enough in age, James and I almost always shared the same friends. Also, our closest friends shared our love of bikes.
I remember countless trips around town: down to the gas station for a soda, across town to a friends house, or over to the bike store. We never rode very fast--after all, what was the point? We were there to be out on our bikes. I remember once trying to ride all the way across town without touching the handlebars except to shift or stop. I remember my futile attempts at trials around the local high school.
In those days, I was more comfortable on my bike than almost anywhere else. At the time, I owned a pair of cheap cycling shorts, a helmet and a pair of cotton crochet gloves. No cycling shoes--toe clips and running shoes back then. No jerseys--a cotton t-shirt was just fine. Somehow, all those cycling bits and pieces I have so much of today, didn't really matter. I was comfortable on my bike, because I lived on it.
I remember the camaraderie. Riding past a friend, and grabbing their brake so they'd have to slow down. This was especially successful if that friend was riding with a 44-oz soda.
Last Saturday, for a brief moment while riding with the neighborhood boys on their cheap bikes--making fun of me in my lycra, of course--it all came back to me. I don't begrudge the type of riding I do now. I love long rides. I love fast paces. For that hour or so on Saturday, though, none of that mattered. It was just a few guys riding along and talking--having fun.
I love the contrast in cycling. Being on a bike is so much fun--whether I'm hammering down a lonely country road, clearing an obstacle on a difficult trail, or just hanging out with friends on bikes.