I really do miss the daily riding. Every day I see one or two people riding their bikes to work. Ironically, I see more people riding bikes now that I'm driving, than I saw while I was riding. They look like well seasoned and responsible riders too. No wrong-way bike ninjas, these. They're sporting all the requisite lights, panniers, layers and neon wind breakers. I think one of them even has the new 2010 Kona Dew Drop. It probably has more miles on it already than my '09 model.
It wasn't all fun and games. I know there was pain. I know that there were days when my fingers and toes hurt so bad from the cold and wind I could barely stand it, and honestly wondered if I'd arrive to find frostbite setting in.
I know there was frustration. It was sometimes burdensome having to plan so carefully for weather that goes by barely noticed from inside my car. Wearing winter clothing on the way to work, and summer clothing on the way home was tough to plan for. I got used to it, and learned my temperature comfort thresholds, but I had to get used to.
While I know there was pain and frustration, true to the natural tendencies of the human mind, I don't remember it. I remember the sense of pride. I remember the feel of the cool wind. I remember forgetting my helmet a couple of times, and being so liberated by the wind in my hair that I only begrudgingly went back to get it. Once, I didn't. I felt so very... European.
I remember being more aware of, and more connected to the world around me.
I remember being more aware of, and more connected to the world within me.
I remember loving the extra time to myself that I had to think.
What started as a training exercise, building up to the 2008 Triple Bypass, turned into a fantastic educational and thoroughly enjoyable experience.
I learned more about the way I drive during that one year of riding than I did in 16 years of driving.
I remember finding it strange that every day someone said "be careful out there" when it was obvious to me that it's just as dangerous, if not more so, to drive. By the numbers, anyway.
I find it remarkable that since I've been driving, no one has told me to "be careful out there." Not once.
I remember feeling proud of myself, and smiling while people told me I was crazy. I knew something they didn't. I knew something they couldn't.
They look forward to arriving at home. I looked forward to getting there.