Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fearlessness lost

During the summers in middle school, 5 friends and I used to ride our bikes to the pool every day. Three of us were members so the other three would each pretend to be one of our siblings and would get in free. We cheated the club out of $21/day for the entire summer. Damn the man. We would swim all day and charge countless blts and ice cream sundaes to one of our parents' accounts. The most memorable thing about these days, for me, is the bike ride home. There was this HUGE hill, which I'm sure would not seem nearly as huge to me anymore. I'm sure it took a few weeks but, eventually, we all grew the balls to ride down this hill without holding onto our handlebars. Some of us, myself included, weren't afraid to raise our arms above our heads, as if we were securely locked into anaconda or space mountain. This hill was not just a hill, it was a road. It was meant for cars to drive down and up. It intersected with another road, the protection from which was nothing but four stop signs. None of this mattered. We were fearless. A fearlessness that I long for today. I now ride to work on busy roads, some busier than Dorset Ave, which hosted our HUGE hill, but not most. On these busy roads, I walk (or BIKE!) a fine line between cautious and paranoid. I am as aware of my surroundings as I can be and I know that is very important, but I also find myself imagining everything that could go wrong. My fearful imagination is distracting and could end up being more harm and good.

While I don't wish to revert to my bike riding days that emulated every parents' worst nightmare, I do wish I could combine the fearlessness of my childhood with the discretion and care that I ride with today. If not, it'd be nice to at least have a bike commute like my mom's which, while it's twice as long, puts her on a pleasant woodsy trail for three-fourths of the ride. Despite her slowness, she can ride like a little kid again.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know about the other people but I never took my hands off the handle bars....I was not as crazy as you!!!