Biking into the past
Published: Saturday, July 19th, 2003
I have no idea what stroke of genius inspired Janice for this particular anniversary gift. It was nothing I would have ever thought of asking for; it was the best possible surprise. I could credit it to all the time we spend watching the Tour de Lance (oops, I mean Tour de France) on TV, but that race is viewed during air-conditioned July evenings; the anniversary precedes it by a month. It is a beautiful present. Two years ago, I tried riding my stepson’s bike; I could barely make a mile. The timing was not right. (I mean that literally; I think Greg’s gears were out of line) Tonight before writing this piece, I put in an easy seven or eight miles; the timing was right. But also figuratively; it was time to find new old ways of keeping fit. Why not the Lance Armstrong method? I will let you in on a little secret — 22 gears can be an amazing painsaver. Not only that, but to a guy whose formative bike-riding was spent pounding up and zooming down Western Pennsylvania hills, I might not say riding on the High Plains is too easy, but more, shall we say, pace-able? I had forgotten this feeling of oneness, being part of and moving through my environment, whether day or night. I hear runners get it, but I’ve always been allergic to running. I have always achieved it on top of two, non-motor-driven wheels. Because you have to be aware of and pay attention to everything, every sensory detail around you, you seem to merge with the environment in new ways. I expect it’s akin to how an animal perceives its environment. There are two guys who ride with me. One is a chunky 12-year-old with horn rims and a ball cap. He keeps looking at the back of the bike, wondering why there is no ball glove strapped on. He glances around for people named Dave and Ron and Jeff and Bobby, whom he claims should be riding with him. He pesters to ride to the convenience store and get a frozen Coke. Worst of all, he keeps looking for hills to ride down at breakneck speed. The other one is 22 and just figuring out whether there is life after college. He’s a lean 150 pounds, with no extra fat — looks like he could ride all day. He has all the right stuff for that 10-speed touring bike of his — water bottles, pack frames, etc. His companion is a few inches taller and just as wiry — 30 or 40 miles a day is nothing to these guys. (I miss you, Rog. Yeah, I know it’s my turn to call.) Headlights a ways down Llano Estacado Boulevard draw me back to the present; those other two me’s disappear for now, but they are here every time I snap that kickstand down. How did I lose this part of myself for so long? Welcome home. Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University.
Click Here To See More Stories Like This