A few years ago, I bought a bike…well, really more of a trike…a recumbent. And started riding. A few months into riding, I hurt myself after taking on one of our cities biggest hills. My back hasn’t been the same since.
On our trip to Portland, OR and Seattle, WA…a trip which it seems was monumental enough to show up spontaneously as a weekly topic in my writing ever since… on our trip, I decided I wanted to try to get my body used to riding again. The process has taken some patience. First, I discovered that just as my body was not as fit as it was when I stopped riding, neither was the bike. It had begun rusting…as anything this close to the water might….the pump had broken and the chain needed replacing. So it went in for a tune-up.
On the way home from the shop, we tucked it in the back of my Honda Element and stopped off at our favorite cafe for the evening. As the night came to a close, I pulled my friends outside to see my bicycle baby. That led to our first after-hours cruise thru what is usually our city’s busiest parking lot. It was quiet…barely a soul in site. We took turns riding. The next night, the same.
Since then, my bike has taken up personal residence in my car. I drive it around town, find a fun new place to ride, and then, hit the pavement. It feels good to be on the streets again. It feels good to move my body. I can still only go on small jaunts, but I am getting stronger and more self-confident the more I move.
Riding the trike brings up all kinds of thoughts, feelings, and issues for me. It reminds me of a similar experience I had some years ago as I started regularly dancing. I had discovered a form of dance movement called Nia. It blended different branches of dance with martial arts and meditation. Riding my bike is a way of getting my body prepared for doing Nia again. During Nia classes, I realized I wasn’t just moving my body. The physical movement was always accompanied by emotional, mental, and spiritual movement. As my body embraced a new rhythm or a new flow, I felt my thoughts and beliefs shifting inside. As the pounds melted away, so did the fear and anger. Riding my bike is the same.
This month as I have ridden, I have been pushing the idea of safety. Will I hurt myself again? Am I in danger of being hurt by another? The questions might seem trivial. The chatter-box judge in my head is an expert at minimizing them. But they each come from difficult, personal experience that has impacted my life. And facing these issues on the trike is helping me transform their hold on me…and I think, if history repeats itself….that I will be healed with this movement as I was with dance.