I have an old Schwinn Sprint 12 speed that I got new for my 12th birthday. That summer, I rode my bike everywhere. Coming from a very large family (I'm the oldest of 7 children), this was a big deal for me. It was my ticket to freedom. My way to escape my loud little siblings (who I dearly love) and clear my head. My way of getting to my friends houses to hang out. My way of being able to shop at Hills Department Store. My way of running to the grocery store for my mom to pick up bread or milk. My way to get to my babysitting jobs.
That bike carried me through Jr. High and then through High School. In college and grad school, while I was furiously studying and working, it sat mainly unused, but never unloved. I took it out on occasion to feel the wind in my hair (no helmets back then). To feel that freedom.
I got married. Bought a house. Started a family. And my bike has been with me through it all.
So I could continue to bike with my children, we bought a used bike trailer off of a friend suitable for 2 kids and up to a total of 100 lbs. When Munch out-grew the trailer (we had 3 kids by then anyway) we purchased a used Trek mountain train. I could ride with all the kids as long as I had someone else to ride with me. Me to pull the trailer with the 2 younger kids, and someone else (usually my sister in law) to pull the mountain train.
This summer, I have been slow at getting my biking butt into gear. Only recently have I taken my bike down off it's winter peg, got it ready to go, and hit the road. The last 2 Sundays, I have taken to the open road. Just me and my bike. Riding around the countryside, feeling the wind on my face, hearing the sounds of nature. I have so thoroughly enjoyed these 2 latest rides, that I am going to make them a Sunday tradition for me.
In some ways, I am very routine oriented. I like to make my morning tea in a certain way. I like to hand grind my coffee beans when I make coffee. And I prefer to bike around the streets I am comfortable with. The ones I know dogs won't chase after me at my heels while I insanely pedal uphill to outrun them. Yesterday, I surprised myself. I started off on a typical path. But then took a new turn. A road that I have never been down - not even in the car. And then another. It was a really beautiful ride. The beautiful countryside. Rolling hills of western Pennsylvania. I live on the border of Ohio and PA. I have all my life. But it never ceases to amaze me that as soon as you cross over that border, the rolling hills begin.
My bike has been with me for 25 years (now you know how old I am). It is still my way to recharge myself. Still my way to get out there and clear my head. To feel the wind, smell the outdoors, see the countryside, hear the world. To feel good. To fly.