Monday, October 7, 2013

Fourteen Point Two Miles

 This weekend I passed a new milestone. I biked 7.1 miles to the Convention Center (and back)--for a total of 14.2 miles in a day-to attend Wordstock Festival.
When I was a teen, I biked all around town in a small city in NH. It was my transportation.  It was a small town; so I could cross it in 3 miles, but I would go everywhere; however, I never biked more than a 3.5 mile distance. I, perhaps, biked more miles than I realized in a day, but I did not bike far away from home.It was a time in life, I felt fit, courageous, spirited, independent, and strong and I have never forgotten how that felt.
I think I shall name her My Beasty Blue my new friend (I used to have a big station wagon nicknamed Beast)--She is like a station wagon.  (-;  

 In college in Ohio,  I continued to bike all over campus; from my apartment to campus. I used that same bike for a very long time. A blue Univega 12 speed, that I had bought with my paper route money when I was about 13. That bike felt like my friend, a part of my own self. I was perfectly comfortable with it, as I felt about my own body. I would even bike on snow and ice (carefully), but when I moved to Oregon; I drove more.  I would only bike on occasion.  I got out of shape.  Then when I did bike, it felt like a chore.  I had children and it became even more complicated.  I tried a bike trailer, but my two little ones would fight inside of it and it was heavy and awkward to pull them.  I tried again, last year, but once when my husband took the kids out to bike, my middle daughter had a bad spill and broke/chipeed 3 teeth. One of them she had to have a root canal for. It felt traumatizing. Fear crept in; and I became timid about going out.  The little flame that was beginning to burn snuffed out for over a year.

This Fall; however, I have had a wave of courage and motivation.   I decided to try Breezer/ Xtracycle.  It is working so far. I love the way the Breezer bike rides. It feels stable; it is a good fit for my height,  it handles hills well; and it is practical with a family. It is a simple 7 speeds, which at first, seemed meager, but now I find awesome in its simplicity.  I can fit groceries and a child or two on the back.  I have not yet, tried it with two of my children at once yet, but I have taken my 84 pound son on the back and was fine.  I have also taken it with my toddler and groceries.

I had been planning to bike to Wordstock for awhile. I was a little nervous.  Those of you who are already bike enthusiasts, I will seem like a toddler to you, I am sure.  7.1 miles on not so hilly bike trail, is not really a big deal; I realize that; but for me, it was. My husband, who rarely brags, bikes 10 miles to work every day. 100 miles a week. Biking is his way of life. I also remember my father, who struggled with back pain, would bike to limber up those muscles. He, I remember once, went on a 100 mile bike ride. He biked regularly, and often. He was part of a bike club.

 But for me;  before yesterday, my world was smaller; I did not think I had the strength to bike very far.  The idea of biking downtown; seemed unreachable.  But, in truth, it actually was much easier than I thought it would be.  I have to admit, the last leg, on the way home, in the dark, became more difficult.  At that point, I did feel tired.  I do not think I could have gone many more miles than that, at this point, but it was good to see what I could do.  I felt proud of my body; appreciative. Strong. Empowered.

It was a beautiful ride on the bike trail, following the river.  I hit the river at sunset.  I saw a heron fly overhead.  I could feel the sun, the air around me, a panoramic view you do not experience in a car.  I was experiencing the ride. The journey was part of the destination and the ultimate victory and joy in the day.  I felt so fortunate that the weather held an idyllic window this weekend  as the rains in Oregon have already returned.  It was warm, sunny, clear; perfection!  The ride was incredibly healthy for me on so many levels.

I have not even touched upon the excitement yet of the event I bike to.  That is a whole other story in itself--the inspiration of being in the presence of people who are heroes to me-Writers. And so many of them. I tried to soak up every moment like a sponge--  Being a writer is what I have always wanted to be; to do--  I have not yet, gotten myself to take the plunge of seriously writing every day; and truly trying to develop my own craft.  This year, it is my goal, to learn as much as I can, to attempt some fiction.  I have to put knitting aside a bit to do this, because I have very little time of my own to "work" It is hard to think of putting the knitting aside, but I feel this burning inside. Writing is what I really need to start doing now.  Writing and biking. (-;




 Pictured here is Newberry Metal Award Winner Cynthia Voight, and Kristen Kittscher author of Wig in the Window.

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