If you notice I’m happier nowadays, which is something Cyndi says is not easy to recognize, it’s because I’m moving again. After seven weeks recovering from foot surgery, I’m back on the road.
Tuesday night, or late afternoon, or whatever you call 5:30 PM when it doesn’t get dark for three more hours, I rode sixteen miles on my bike, making it back home in plenty of time for Taco Tuesday with family and friends. As with most rides in West Texas, part of it was a hard grind into the wind, the other part was flying with a tail wind. As I was feeling sorry for myself because I had to fight the wind, it occurred to me - since I won’t be moving to another less-windy part of the country any time soon, and since I expect to keep riding for a long time, I might as well learn to enjoy riding into the wind. I should stop complaining and learn to own it.
Only a fool complains about the same obstacle over and over, as if surprised each time the same problem comes around. For example, complaining about the crowds at Christmas, or the price of gasoline, or the slow service at restaurants in a town with 3% unemployment, or complaining about the wind. Foolish. On the one hand, you shouldn’t be surprised at something that happens repeatedly; on the other hand, you should embrace it and learn to cope or go away and do something else. I may have to write that philosophy on my bike handlebars so I won’t complain about riding into the wind.
I have been riding my bike for about a week and a half now, accumulating 123 miles since discarding my crutches and protective boot. In fact, I was so proud after my first couple of rides I forgot that I hadn’t really moved at all in the previous seven weeks. I was exhausted and drained for several evenings in a row. I’m slowly catching up.
However, my foot is still too swollen to fit into a cycling shoe, so I can’t clip in. I am riding in my New Balance running shoes. Since they are the only shoes I can wear, I’m doing everything in them: going to work, going to church, riding bikes, playing with my granddaughter.
Last Monday, while riding west on the newest portion of Mockingbird Lane, I passed two young boys on their own bikes. It reminded me of when I got my first big-boy bike for Christmas. I was about six years old and we lived in Kermit, Texas. My parents bought me a huge Roadmaster single-speed with coaster brakes and fenders. It was mostly black and, as it turned out, nearly indestructible. I rode it until buying a Volkcycle ten-speed in high school.
The Roadmaster was so big my legs weren’t long enough to reach the pedals at the bottom of the stroke so my dad bolted 2x4 blocks on both sides of both pedals. I was fine with that. It was long before I fell in love with cool cycling gear. All I cared about back then was moving down the road.
Well, passing those young boys on Mockingbird Lane also reminded me how grateful I am to friend, Mark, and brother, Carroll, for dragging me back into cycling. Thanks, guys.
My first rides after surgery were on my Fuji town bike since it has giant platform pedals. But lately I’ve been riding my Specialized road bike. Riding without clips is not the most efficient transfer of energy, but who cares. I am moving again. And when my legs are moving, my brain is more creative, and my heart is more open. It is a formula I cannot resist.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32
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