Tuesday, 15 August 2017

I am a Grown-Up

A few weeks ago my son fixed up my bike for me. I've got a somewhat derelict of a two-wheeler complete with fenders and a rat-trap though the upper hinge portion is long gone (that's why they invented bungi cords!).  Originally I borrowed the bike from a co-worker who's ex-wife had left it behind. That was over 8 years ago and that machine just morphed into mine. The memory foam seat is well worn with my butt impression.

L'il Black, as I fondly call her, was dormant for a few years. She stayed at my mother's place 2 hours north of my home for 2 years as I didn't have a vehicle to bring her back. I finally did and again she sat...

My son (handsome and handy) pumped up the tires, oiled & adjusted the chain, tightened the spokes and checked the brake cables. I was off.

I had forgotten the utter sense of freedom and joy my soul felt gliding along the pathways. I was elated. I'd found a place where I paradoxically lost myself in how alive I was.

L'il Black and I have subsequently spent many hours together exploring the extensive trail system in the beautiful city where I reside. My goal, for years now, has been to cycle to work roughly 10 km into the city about 35 minutes along the scenic cycling route sans car traffic. A rejuvenating ride indeed.

Last weekend I thought I'd explore one of the other cycle routes and headed north with 3 water bottles strapped to the rack on the back fender. I had my bike helmet on the handle bars...  here's where the disconnect between me and other people begins... In our area it is a law (of sorts) to wear a helmet. I do not like to wear a helmet, or a hat of any kind really. Not just cause it wrecks my hair but it's not comfortable, I get hot, yada, yada, yada. Basically I hate stuff on my head.

So I'm blissfully riding along a trail. A pack of riders pass by me decked out in spandex gear and aerodynamic helmets complete with the fancy shoes that fit in the toe clips. All male and from what I can tell roughly my age group (50+). One of the jackaroos chuckles to his buddy as he passes by "good place for the helmet".  I realize it's meant for me and my ego bubbles up and I holler "thanks for your comments". I am incensed. The group veers off to a coffee house and I continue along the bike path playing the interaction over and over again in my mind wishing I'd thought of some wittier response or even the ego's favourite... fuck off! For the next 15 minutes I can't quell the voice and I ride harder in an effort to switch my focus and release the energy.

Why does his comment irritate me so deeply?  This is why:

I am a Grown-Up. 

To refine it further I am a sovereign being fully capable of assessing a situation and taking appropriate action to ensure my safety.

I'm fed up with the North American attitude of safety-ing ourselves to death in an effort to circumvent any possibility of something not nice happening.  Don't get me wrong, just as the saying goes there is a time and a place, similarly where there is a need measures will be taken.

I've successfully ridden a bike for over 50 years and will continue to enjoy the breeze in my hair as I connect with myself and my world on my faithful steed.