It all depends on where you live, I suppose, but the bicycle seems to come and go depending on your age. Growing up, the Schwinn Stingray was how I got around. It’s how I got to my buddy’s house, it’s how we got to the drug store to buy Tootsie Rolls and Charlie’s Angels cards. It’s how I got to school. That is when we didn’t walk or when my brother Tommy and I didn’t roll up on a tandem. Then, after all those years of practice and daredevil activity, there was a cycling hiatus. We got around in Chevy vans.
Watching Leo float across a gravel road on his scoot, or plunge down grassy hills, or jump off and push when it’s too steep made me wonder: Will he ditch it all when he’s a teenager? I hope not.
It took me a while to come back around to doing more than an occasional mountain bike ride. A few years ago I bought a new bike and love it again.
Recently, I was racing down a gravel road in Eastern Oregon chatting with my friend Zale, hopping in and out of ruts and over washboard. We left camp on a quick mission to a hot springs, but wound up pedaling fifteen miles so we could see what was on the other side of a certain hill. We found out…it was more mountains and a sunset. And it was at that point I realized how important the bike was to me. I felt like that ten-year-old on the Schwinn again. Freedom, youth, energy.
With Sara commuting to work by bike most days, hundreds of bike riders passing in front of our house daily in the bike lane and with cyclocross races being the Sunday gathering spot for our friends and family, I don’t see it as a passing interest for our kids. I can’t wait to go for a long ride some day with these guys.
all images © Tim LaBarge 2009