It has been a little over two months since I rode my bicycle.
This is not so much a confession as it is an observation.
I admit that Covid — the last twenty months, the whole mess of the lockdown and the resulting isolation, and the forced immobility brought on by health issues and aging — has taken a HUGE toll on me physically, mentally and spiritually.
I’m not sure what it will take for me to get back on my bicycle, even for short jaunts around the neighborhood. (To be clear, while I used to love riding in sub-freezing weather, that was longer ago than I’ve given it, or myself, credit for; and I no longer see the sense in riding when it’s below freezing outside. Neither do my knees.)
I assume that warmer weather will help.
I hope that the return of longer days will help.
I miss who I was when I rode every day. Some of that will never return. I’m older and slower and much creakier now, and lately I am also dealing with occasional moments of vertigo that have made bike riding, well, scarier.
There was a time when I believed I would never slow down, when I thought my energy would remain high and my legs remain steel-like. This much be what aging feels like for those of us who seem “eternally young” to those around them. And in some ways, I remain youthful and wacky and fun-loving. In other ways, my body is sending me messages (often preceded by the words, “hey, sucker!”) that in fact I am getting older, it’s been sending me those messages for over a decade and I’ve only paid attention when I was forced to.
So tonight, after weeks of looking at photos from my bike-riding friends of their recent adventures, I went into the entryway and looked at the bike I last rode, my lovely singlespeed, and the remaining ephemera of two decades working in the belly of the bicycle industry.
The truth is that I WANT to return to riding.
The truth is that I WANT to ride again without feeling nervous or shaky or creaky.
The truth is that I am sad about the slowness of this time I find myself in, and I desperately hope I will be able to ride again when things warm up and lighten up.
So for now, I dream of spring.