July 31, 2011 at 12:57 am
by Gay Edelman
When I was a kid I spent every summer ramming around my upstate New York neighborhood on my balloon tire bike with my pals. When I was first married, my husband and I took a 500-mile trip through Vermont and New Hampshire on our thin-tired Peugeot racers. But until recently I hadn’t been on a bike in years, caught up in the responsibilities of home, family and work, and too out of practice for my Peugeot. My Schwinn Sporterra loaner came into my life at just the right time, merging the best of my past experiences and contributing to an idyllic week in the Adirondacks recently. Cruising along, breathing in the cool, pine-scented air, I reveled in the fun, the freedom and the excitement. And was reminded of some basic life truths:
1. Slow and steady is best. Sure, when I was kid, speed was cool. But now, it’s more about taking it easy and just doing the next right thing.
2. Nobody cares, in a good way. There really is no one watching how awkwardly I get on and off after years away. So what if I’m pokey and awkward?
3. Close is usually good enough. With 21 gears to choose from, I don’t have to hit the exact one, though it is a good idea to be somewhere in range.
4. Change requires concentration. You naturally think you should stop peddling to shift. Nope. You have to keep chugging with your feet at the same time your hands fiddle with the levels.Work both ends for the middle, in other words.
5. It’s okay to coast. Relaxing and enjoying the view is not sloth. It’s fun. It’s going with the flow.
6. Safety rules. I don’t ride in heavy traffic. I do wear a helmet, always, and long pants. I carry my cell phone and make sure at least one person knows where I’m going. Healthy risks are good. Unhealthy ones are stupid.
7. Brakes are there for a reason. Like with life, it’s good to go at a reasonable pace. Even stop and breathe once in awhile.