The children are going to a Vacation Bible School this week to learn about Egypt, Some Old Dude and Eat Lots Of Candy and Eat Lots More Candy and sing some songs and Eat More Candy. At least, this is as reported by my oldest.
No, we are not religious, or rather, not in the traditional “there is a God” sort of way. But rather, I am deeply religious in the “there is cheap child care” sort of a way. And that, friends, is Heaven.
According to my daughter, it’s not a terribly religious experience anyway. Some old dude walked through a sea a long time ago and LOOK I GOT SKITTLES, MOMMY.
It is during this time that I’ve had the joy of riding bikes again. It’s been, roughly, an estimated average of 5.2129 years since this has been a regular occurrence. Precisely, give or take .127 years and 13 days, which is to say that holycrap that bike seat is tiny.
Even here in Seattle, one of the most bike-friendly towns, it’s near murder trying to bike along a road. For one, I’m completely unstable and tend to swerve maniacally back and forth in my bike lane like a texting teenager learning to drive. For some reason, when I turn my head left or right my body tends to follow my giant mellon, like a beacon of light trailing along in the night. Not only does this royally freak out cars who are paying attention, it freaks the shit out of me when they’re not.
So, there’s that.
In general, car-people get a bad rap here for being, well, car-people. Asshats who use the road to their own gain AND WIN because, you know, they are in a ten ton vehicle and bikers are flapping in the wind all sorts of proverbial naked and exposed. Given the aforementioned erratic nature of my biking, I tend to stick to bike lanes or trails: mainly the Burke Gilman.
Which, holyshitballs, biker dudes are not any better than car-people.
I’m clearly not an avid biker. I’m not wearing the biking uniform and I’m not clipped in to my straps and I’m not wearing water on my back in the form of a futuristic backpack. I’m the equivalent of the old dude with the handicap sign hanging from his rear view mirror pumping his breaks down a 45 mph hill to slow to 25. I’m THAT guy. On a bike. Swerving.
The real bikers are decked out in water-wicking spandex. They have shoes clipped in to their pedals that cost more than my left arm. (Apparently my left arm is of much greater value than the right.) They are aerodynamic like a bullet. They are almost as fast, having shaved their legs, eyebrows and heads. Slick like seaweed in water. They’re always yelling, “ON YOUR RIGHT ON YOUR RIGHT ON YOUR RIGHT” as they pass people on the trail and mutter under their breaths if they tap their breaks even once.
And then there is the fat lady.
She has all the right gear, the spandex and the camel back water hydration pack and the super-fiberglass-lightweight-helmet-of-great-speed. She has the proper shoes. She has the proper bike. But she is not yelling, “ON YOUR RIGHT ON YOUR RIGHT ON YOUR RIGHT” as she is not passing a single person.
I almost admire her for this. What great balls she must have to get in to THE OUTFIT and ride with the big guns. Balls or Delusions. Either way, I’m not half the woman she is (uh) and could never imagine having the tenacity to go forth and conquer her fears like that. Maybe they are only my fears, I don’t know. Fear of failure, of not using the right bell or hand gesture or looking like I just don’t fit it.
It was still a lovely ride, even with those biker dudes all up in my business passing every few minutes yelling, essentially, for me to stop swerving and move-the-fuck-over. It was lovely in a way that biking never changes, no matter how old a person gets. It’s a sort of conductor to childhood memories; Wind flying through your hair, legs pumping, a ridiculous grin spread across your face in glee. I can see why people get in to biking in the first place.
I’ll continue to be the old guy on my bike, straggling, swerving, slowing on hills. And I’ll love every minute of it. In full.