My first bike ride back in Medway
Of all the things that I left behind in the States, I think I missed my bike the most. It’s such a simple machine, when you get down to the meat of it, simply a gear and chain system with some pedals and wires attached, but what it means is so much more… My bike is mobility, simplicity, and health when you think about it. You don’t need to buy gas for a bike, and the machinery is simple enough that if something breaks I can usually fix it enough to at least get home, or to a shop, on my own power. And if all else fails I can just walk home, or call a friend for a ride. And I find that I always feel so much happier than when I haven’t ridden for a while. I’m sure some doctors could explain all of the endorphin releases that exercise promotes – but I’ll be honest here, nothing gives me exactly the same feeling as finishing a 20+ mile bike ride.
For my first ride back in the States, I didn’t go super-hard, but I did take myself out for a good stretch of the legs. I never actually tracked the full distance, but from what I remember of where I was, I must have gone roughly 12miles total (20km), give or take. The bonus was the weather – a perfectly crisp late winters day, where the leaves haven’t started budding yet but you can just smell the barest hint of new growth in the air. (Ed Note: Sorry. Ben’s being poetic again)
I didn’t take any pictures, or really do much during the ride at all besides simply going. The purity was excellent and exactly what I needed after being cooped up on an airplane for ages, and even being trapped by the city in Waikiki… Every time I got onto a bus in Hawaii I imagined having a good bike with me – that 10mile bus ride to Pearl Harbor, that took an hour and a half? Yeah… I could have easily busted it out in thirty or forty minutes, max. Though I’ll admit that I can definitely understand peoples hesitancy against biking in a city full of tourists in cars far too powerful for their own good.
As I cruised back into the garage after my ride I felt good, and almost philosophical, about what a bicycle actually means. It’s the freedom to move without the constraints of engine power or gas cost, where you’re only limited by your own strength and endurance.