The sounds of silence

My son Alex and I, embarking on our homeward journey.

My son Alex and I, embarking on our homeward journey.

Never did it occur to me I could ride 263 miles in one weekend—at least, not until the century I recently completed with the help of friends. But over Memorial Day weekend, my son and I did it: Columbus > Parkersburg, WV > Columbus! What a fascinating turn in my bike life journey, with takeaways including:

Rolling hills are great fun. Wicking fabric in 3-hour rains save rides. Nature sucks (as do allergies). No thanks, gravel inclines! I love music! Birds are pretty rad, too. I CAN DO IT.

This last is a particularly Good Thing to know about oneself. I'm proud of all times I managed my discomfort to pedal one additional mile. I'm in awe of all the times I wanted to call for a pickup but didn't. I'm stronger than I thought I was.

But even more than that, was the silence. During much of the ride I did not talk, think (not even about work, which for anyone who knows me is...miraculous), distract myself with electronics: I was blank. So blank, in fact, that I began to understand what bird watchers are all about (which, for anyone who knows me, was NOT something that was ever gonna happen). It took a veeerrry long bike ride for me to reconnect with the stillness inside me. And what a gift that has been. 

When I began riding a bicycle—a poor quality, ill fitting bicycle—for transportation, more than a decade ago, I could not have guessed where it would take me (literally or figuratively). Certainly I never would have thought I'd actually enjoy all my daily short-mileage trips. And definitely not long-distance recreational riding. And absolutely not a 263 mile journey to Parkersburg and back.

Now I'm not saying that everyone should follow my path. If sewing or soccer or cooking is your path to transformation, rock on with your bad self. But I AM saying that if you've been thinking that biking just might be your thing—you're probably right, and I'm here for you. Yay Bikes! is here for you. Come on out for a ride! You'll not know where it will take you, but you can pretty much guarantee discovery, community, fun and adventure. None too shabby, eh?

Yay bikes! Yay you!