A modern but sedentary lifestyle prompts me to cruise Fridley, Minnesota....on two wheels.
I spend a lot of my time sitting in front of a computer. A lot. As my children grew older, I was offered some freelance work that allowed me to stay relatively focused on my family. This led to more opportunities of work, meeting new people, and still more projects. So I now find myself in a pleasant place of being amongst creative tasks and engaging with others in my community, which I find to be tremendously rewarding. Most of which I am able to do from my home office.
When I'm not sitting in front of a computer, I am sitting in my car lugging my children to any number of places: school, dance, music lessons, play dates, birthday parties, doctor visits. The list is endless.
So you can see that ultimately, I sit around. A lot.
I have a fantastic old bike that I discovered at my spouse's family cabin several years back. It was parked in the garage in a desolate corner; sad, abandoned, cobwebs covering it like gossamer. It was the Genuine Article, the kind of gem you envision yourself riding to the Farmer's Market in Paris, clothed in a lightweight sundress, bringing home a French baguette and bottle of wine.
Clearly, this gem had to be salvaged, to ride on new roads, once again. It was arranged that I was would be the keeper of this bike indefinitely, with my brother-in-law's blessing.
Until this season though, "envisioning" was the only way my bike (really) got any use. It wasn't yet draped in gossamer, but close. I decided this was the summer I would take it for a spin! Gas prices are high, I need more exercise, my Parisian bike beckoned to be out.
There is something about bringing your senses to task that is very life affirming: being able to feel warm sun on my face and shoulders, the strain of muscles, listening to the chatter of birdsong, sharp barks of neighborhood dogs. Occasionally, I will hear the soft whir of a fellow biker before they pass me by (mine has the metallic clanks and tinkers of seasoned machinery).
When leaving my neighborhood in daytime hours, I can smell freshly cut lawns, maybe roses or lilacs. And when I return in the evening, I smell something altogether different, something heady, slightly damp with the weight of night, a scent that I can never quite recognize, but is always familiar.
I started seeing things for the first time, even though I've lived here for well over a decade. There are numerous small businesses tucked away here and there stitched along the back roads, dotting my scenery. How long have they been there? What do they do? On a bike, I am immersed in new revelations.
When riding, the world suddenly opens up and I am in it, a living moving part instead of just watching it whiz by, partitioned off by the metal and glass cocoon that is my car, distracted by the prattle of children, the conversations of MPR.
While I can't afford to "be in the world" often, or for very long (like all seasons, summer will end soon), I've learned it sure is nice when I can.
I never go very fast, or really very far. But somehow, that doesn't seem to matter. I suspect that if my gem of a bike could talk, she would tell me how happy she is to see the light of day again, thank me for rescuing her from a life in a garage.
And that a bringing home a seedless watermelon from Bob's in Fridley is just as lovely as a French baguette and bottle of wine in Paris.