I saved up as a teenager (before I had a driver’s license) to buy my first “adult” bike. It represented freedom, speed, and adventure.
It was white and had 5 speeds. I even gave it a name — Ike the Bike. It (he?) might be sitting in my mother’s storage unit now, gathering desert dust and maybe even a scorpion or two.
But I have many terrific memories of flying at top speed to my friend Beth’s house or up and down random streets.
Cycling has played a role throughout my life beyond those teen years:
- As a little girl, I had a groovy pink bike with a banana seat and streamers on the handlebars.
- I spent a summer as an adult riding to and from the farmer’s market and other errands, enjoying the smell and sounds of the East End of Long Island.
- Soon after my divorce, I took a solo vacation to Vail and went on a biking adventure near the mountains.
- My younger daughter and I once rode throughout Washington, DC. It was a fun, educational, calorie-burning day. Mother/daughter bonding is always wonderful.
- I got into spinning too. Although it’s not quite the same as outdoor biking, the loud music and group energy are motivating.
- Cycling has even had an impact on my business life. I spoke twice at the cycle industry trade show, which then led to a blogging gig and a 3-part series about bicycle trends.
- But biking is not just about the equipment. I’ve discovered that “bike people” are an interesting and fun community. We are like runners in that it’s a solo sport but can be way more enjoyable when we’re surrounded by a “gang” of sorts. Cycling fashion is a mixed bag. Yes, I wear a helmet and appropriate eyewear, but the shorts with the padded butt are not as flattering as some of my other seasonal attire.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reignited my passion for two-wheel adventures. I found myself at the local Scottsdale bike shop, re-accessorizing my 10-speed “pal” and exploring the streets, even as the temperatures soared to 100 degrees.
I love watching videos of my grandkids as they embark on their first cycling adventures. Although we don’t all remember it, that day in our own lives when training wheels come off is a special one. We wobble down the street, a look of minor terror in our eyes as our parents gleam with pride and gently let go.
And here I am again, 60 years later. No one is holding on to the back of my seat. I use my Waze so I don’t get lost in the winding side streets. I combined my love of tech with my love of cycling and treated myself to a phone holder and mini trip computer. And, although I don’t have streamers I have a loud purple bell.
One day my “wheels” may be on a chair or a walker. But for now, I’m just going to escape from boredom and solitude and ride with glee at top speed on yet-to-be-explored roads.
Cycle on, fellow Boomers!