Boomer Rediscoveries: The Bike in the Garage
A family of bicycles has been hanging in the garage for almost a decade now, suspended on a pulley system to keep them off the floor. Not that the clutter in the garage allows for cars to park in there anyway, as is the case for most of the houses in our suburban neighborhood. Garages are a place where the “stuff” of our lives ends up in a pile. So the bikes kind of got lost in the shuffle. I stopped seeing them.
I have had one bike or another all my life since about age 6. I loved riding with all my heart. I remember that learning to ride a bike was a defining moment of my childhood, just like learning to read as a little kid, and learning to drive as a bigger kid, were defining and joyous revelations. It was a sense of freedom, that I could do for myself and just….go. I will never forget how good that felt. In my little rural hometown that bike meant I didn’t have to ask my parents to stop their work and take me to my friends houses, I could get on my bike and go myself. It felt very much like flight as I coasted down those hillsides, the wind whipping my hair back, huge smile on my face.
A few years before my daughter was born (she is 21 now), my husband and I were feeling adventurous and decided to get mountain bikes and hit the trail on weekends to blow off the steam of our stressful jobs. That endeavor fell by the wayside when Alex came into the picture. Quite different adventures awaited us as we launched into parenthood.
Over the years we got the bikes down every now and then. When our daughter learned to ride, we made some attempts to make this a family pastime, but there were always too many other things vying for her time and ours: soccer, gymnastics, tae kwon do, horseback riding, cooking classes, ice skating, Drama Kids, birthday parties and sleepovers, family visits, church Youth Fellowship, community service, the music and theater pursuits that finally claimed her full attention…oh, and school, and work.
So our poor bikes roosted, suspended from the garage ceiling all these years, isolated and hardly touched. The other day as I was going through the stuff in the garage as we prepare to send our daughter to college, I spied them and I was filled with a sense of sadness and loss, that something I loved so much had gone by the wayside over the years, and I didn’t even notice. That now it was a little too late to introduce our little girl to trail riding; the little girl is all grown up. I realized it was time for a Boomer rediscovery: I got those bikes down, claimed mine from the others, pumped up the tires, and off I went! It felt a little different, wobbly, it took me a few minutes to get my balance, but only a few. My knees don’t work quite as easily as they used to, no surprise there, so I avoided routes with major inclines. I take the bike out almost every evening now, and each time it gets a little easier. I get less winded and can go a little further.
Guess what, it feels just like it used to. The same sense of freedom, of flying, the same big smile on my face, the same pure joy. Why did I let that bike languish? I don’t know, why do we let so many things fall by the wayside as we go through life? Boomers, it’s time for rediscoveries. Think about what yours will be.