It’s well into May, the dogwood trees in my neighborhood are blooming and I am able to bike again after a frigid early spring. Enjoying the white blossoms, the green lawns and the chirping of birds as I wheel around the neighborhood brings me amazing joy. It also reminds me of my life-long love of bikes.
It started during my childhood in Detroit, when I was a tomboy and loved to hang out with my older brother Bill and his buddies. It meant that I was always speeding recklessly on my green girl’s bike to impress them and unfortunately that sometimes had disastrous consequences — including the time I fell off my bike in the alley as I tried to execute a fast turn, fell over and badly scraped my elbow as I hit the pavement. I am still amazed that I got through those competitive years without any scars, just exhilarating memories. It also fueled my feeling that I could compete with“the boys” – really helpful when I competed in a male-dominated field of journalism and later publishing.
When I eventually lived in Brooklyn in my late 20s, I took up biking again, racing a road bike around the borough, but especially focusing on riding in beautiful Prospect Park — where traffic was diverted on summer weekends and bikers flooded the roads instead. There was always so much going on that it felt like an amazing adventure. I even took my bike occasionally on the subway to Manhattan so I could have similar fun in Central Park or explore other areas like the Village and Soho.
I didn’t stop biking until after my marriage to a non-biker more than 10 years later. My husband Tim preferred a health club membership and playing racket ball to biking outdoors. I finally gave in, although I still took my bike to California with us a few years later, where it ended up stored away and finally sold.
After my beloved Tim’s death, one of the ways I coped with the sorrow was moving back to Brooklyn and buying a road bike from a neighbor in my condo building– a white Boardwalk Bianchi, 8 speed. This time I have never quit and consider my bike part of my wellness package, along with yoga and meditation. And every spring, I joyfully hit the roads again.