Nostalgia Reality Check: Riding Bikes

No one asked me to come out and play or anything but last week I hopped on a bike in search of whatever serotonin levels come with freedom.

Apr 2, 2012 at 5:00pm | Leave a comment

I get teary eyed pretty often these days, especially when the conversation turns to children (no, I'm not preggo, Mom). The other night at happy hour my eyes got misty during a hypothetical conversation on whether or not my imaginary teenaged daughter would "make it" after trying out for cheerleading.

Something about kids not getting what they want just hits me in the gut -- like a socio-economic sucker punch. So imagine the emotional doubling over that happened last week after I walked by the Capital Bike Share depot near my apartment.  Scores of little boys were on the still stationary bikes "racing" each other to who knows where. They were literally and figuratively "spinning their wheels" and vroom vroom vrooming to finish line that didn't exist.

Anyway the whole scene broke my heart and I almost started bawling on the sidewalk. What's wrong with me? Maybe on the other side of 30 your uterus takes the wheel. Or maybe I just need to get out more.

Either way watching a group of bike-less kids getting their fun on by any means necessary made me feel super nostalgic for the days when someone would knock on our screen door and ask my mom if I could "come out and play." For a solid five-year stretch "riding bikes" was my go-to "get out of jail free card." And just like the little kids joy riding on a parked bike they couldn't afford, I never cared where I was going--only that I could go. 

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So last week I forked over $7 bucks and hit the mean streets of your capitol city in search of whatever serotonin levels come with freedom. Here's what I learned:

My ass is not what it used to be.  

Four days later and I'm still sore. How in the name of  gluteus maximus can a butt with more padding than a little bit be less shock absorbent today than it was 20 years ago? There was a time when I was little when folks would refuse to let me sit on their laps because my butt bones would stab them through my Jordache jeans. I answered to "bony maroni" and/or "Olive Oil" growing up. Since then I've gain a few pounds but clearly not the right ones. Right now, I'm sitting on a pillow.

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Bugs don't taste good. 

You guys, I ate an insect. And the worst part about that is that this tiny black spot flew into my mouth as I returning my rented back and stage whisper shouting my accomplishments to random passersby. Basically what happened was after burning off about a mouthful of Starbucks I felt so accomplished that I Dean screamed and a gnat bitch-slapped me for being ridiculous, martyring itself. 

Not wearing a helmet is dumb

So call me idiot. I was being spontaneous -- living young and wild and free! -- which meant safety went out the window. A drunken night on an extra long twin in college taught better so no need to berate me in the comments section. Add to that, in the past six months no less than three of my friends have been hit by cars while riding IN THE BIKE LANE. I figured nothing bad could happen to me in just thirty minutes -- and thankfully nothing did. But I won't press my luck again. Helmet hair looks better on me than death.

Going fast IS fun

Really all I did was pedal up a big hill and then cruise back down again. That was it. Making your own wind is as close as you can get to playing god without an advanced degree in genetic engineering. Zipping down a hill with my fingers barely squeezing the brakes was probably the most "fun" I've had in a while.  What does fun even mean any more? Getting drunk off a 100 percent mark up? Eating ridiculously expensive roast chicken? Getting sweat on by a random man in skinny jeans?

Fun used to require nothing more than my feet. Something the eight-year-old boys waiting for me at the Capital Bike Share already knew. I slide my rented freedom machine back into its lock and they pounced, pedaling harder than a Soccer Mom in spin class and undoubtedly having way more fun. 

 

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