The first rule of Bike Club is: you do not talk about Bike Club. The second rule of Bike Club is: you DO NOT talk about Bike Club!
May 9, 2018
Is it possible to have a recurring dream, sometimes asleep but often awake, of stepping sideways through the alternate narratives of this chosen route? Therein the imagination plays a kind of metaphysical game of accelerated prognostication and one might wake from these dreams briefly haunted by a collapsing memory of a disconnected gossamer fluctuation in the commonly agreed upon reality. A path ignored. A road never travelled. The wind washing across the face as the infinite twists and turns of the trail flirt with focus and then are gone.
I finally bought a new bike.
To have made myself into a runner for so long now cycling has started to seem more and more an alternate reality of sorts, a choice not chosen, and a method of exploring these elegant trails that I was willfully ignoring.
It is a year of bikes, perhaps. In the last week alone I know of five people who have jumped headlong into the cycling narrative, purchased a pair of wheels and a helmet, and opted to spend at least part of their long-anticipated summer cruising through the aspalt threads that weave through the body of this city.
But I finally bought a new bike. And I intend to find any and every excuse to ride it.
Saturday morning I vanished into the trail system for an hour and a half, pedalling for nearly twenty-five klicks down paths, across bridges, into neighbourhoods, up a gravel road, across a field, cresting a grassy hill, and weaving and wending back to home, eventually.
Tuesday night a small group of runners turned cyclists, if only for a night, scheduled a meetup at some centrally agreed upon location far enough away that driving there was a virtual necessity. The switch from running to cycling, perhaps, was too much to ask for some and in the end only two of us showed up to the inagural meeting of #bikeclub but we didn’t care and so we happily pushed on into the creek and traced a ten klick route despite of the poor showing. We took in the fresh scenery and perfect spring air, and forgot our desk jobs and the harsh truths of life and death and politics and just forgot the world for forty-five minutes of carefree biking.
I exalt the effort herein, I admit. I regard the act of running in much the same regard, often, but there is an opportunity in simple cycling that doesn’t exist in the act of running. It is a meditative pause that happens when you stop moving your legs. If you stop moving your legs while running, well… then you’ve stopped. While biking? if you stop moving your legs while cycling then you continue drifting down the path for a while…. the wind washing across the face as the infinite twists and turns of the trail flirt with focus and then are gone. More than a passenger, but temporarily less than an active participant.
And I finally bought a new bike. It is a hybrid mountain/road model with hydraulic disc brakes and a lightweight frame, geared for a balance of speed on clean, even asphalt and also facing down uneven gravel trails.
I finally bought a new bike, and somehow I’ll pinch my time mounted on it’s slender seat between the other limited time for physical efforts to fill my days. A road never travelled, now sought. A path previously ignored, gazed upon with intent to conquer.
April 7, 2017
In the six days since we bought Claire a new bike, we’ve been on three really good rides.
Okay, so it’s not hardcore, but it’s a better average than we’ve tracked in the past nine years.
The girl is growing like a weed… much to her frustration. “I don’t want to be tall!” She’ll exclaim every time me mention her size, usually in the context of new clothes or (case) needed a new bike. Her old bike, a solid Norco kids cycle with an eighteen inch wheelbase ha seen it’s share of asphalt, but by last year her knees were nudging the handlebars and she complained constantly about it.
We went on a neighbourhood ten klick route last year and by the end of it you’d think she’d cycled to the moon for all the complaining she was doing. To be fair, it was pretty small. And it had just one gear, so… slow, exhausting, and frustrating.
We found ourselves bike shopping last weekend, the first day of April and the snow barely cleared from the paths. And the result was a sparkly, new, last-season clearance deal: twenty-six inch frame with twenty-four gear speeds and the most important thing (for a nine-year old girl) a little silver bell for the handlebars.
So, since then we’ve been on three really good rides.
Around the park mostly, but multi-lap practice sessions that I didn’t feel like “we traipsed out here for THAT!”
And then one to the river valley. I snapped the bike rack onto the truck and loaded up our two cycles and we pothole-dodged down to the lot of the dog park where we used to take Sparkle so often but where now I found myself unloading two bikes onto the still-fresh asphalt path leading over to the new bridge.
Six klicks later, through the woods across the new connector trail joining the two pedestrian river crossings, and enough of a sample of the summer-to-come for a kid who was literally bouncing with excitement over her newfound joy on two wheels.
If April is shaping up as an example for the summer, I might need to upgrade my own clunker