There’s something about the motion of a bicycle when it’s on its way and the laughter of its wheels downslope that makes you wish you did nothing else all day. If you ever rode a bicycle, you know perfectly well what I mean.
Like most kids I grew up on bicycles. Though I can’t remember anything about my tricycle, I know for sure I had one. Living on the fourth floor of an apartment building, however, discouraged cycling during my city childhood and adolescence. It saddens me to say I have not been friends with bikes at that time.
Nowadays, in the lower and wider spaces of a suburban neighborhood, I still don’t have a bike of my own, but I find myself borrowing mother’s more and more. Though the mongrels would object, cycling bouts in the evening through neighborhood are quite a treat, and when you hear the trees swishing all around you as you go, it’s as if you had something to do with it. Which is no small satisfaction.
Even more enjoyable are longer rides down the road that runs along the train tracks. It’s a road that goes on and on, I don’t know where, and it’s neither paved nor disturbed by cars that much. Your bottom does grow numb with the potholes and rocks in your way, but the flowery fields to your right and the countryside atmosphere make amends for such inconveniences.
What is it about cycling that is so enjoyable? It’s in the open air, it’s eco-friendly, it happens at just the right speed, neither slow nor fast – it gives you time to breathe and take in the sights. Then there’s the crunching of the pebbles under you and the laugher of the wheels downslope. To say nothing of the hard-won joy of conquering an incline or other.
Should I ever end up living in a city again, I’m resolved to keep on riding a bike, however many flights of steps I’d have to struggle with it. Riding a bicycle in a city is no small feat, but there are plenty of people who inspire us to do it, even in a city such as Bucharest which isn’t the most bicycle-friendly around. Even here you can see plenty of bicycles around, even on the crowded boulevards.
If lovely women do it, helmeted only in their long, streaming hair, and with their skirts fluttering about them like the wings of giant butterflies, so can the rest of us, and just like them we can allow ourselves to become politely indifferent to the honking of distracted drivers.
Cycling is a good way to go wherever you want to go, but it’s especially good for going nowhere in particular, for just being on your way for a time, which we need now and then, just as much as arriving somewhere.
When’s the last time you rode a bicycle?