I consider myself athletic and I’m not the only one, the catalogs I get in the mail think so too. They are ready to outfit me for most every outdoor adventure under the sun.
Once I get a bit more serious at golf and quit practicing headstands while Honeybun tees off, I’ll purchase more appropriate attire. That’s bound to happen about the same time I buy a real biking outfit.
Dee and I rode on the rail trail today. My 10 speed (or is it a 12 speed) girls bike hasn’t been off the garage wall for years and the dense cobwebs left behind are proof. My helmet is quite comfortable considering mice removed all the interior padding. The seat seems a little high but then again aren’t you supposed to be on tiptoes when pedaling?
Earlier this week it was suggested that I practice mindfulness. I have a few too many tennis balls bouncing around in my head these days. An easy bike ride would be the perfect thing to do, be mindful, focus on this moment, this experience; enjoy the steady rhythm of the movement.
Because my helmet is basically a large bowl strapped to my head I can’t look behind me without it dropping over my eyes. Is something following me? I’m pretty good at scaring myself, especially if I’m not wearing glasses. Rabid dogs, stalking mountain lions and monsters could be behind me. Best not to dwell on the past (or what you never saw). Are my wheels completely attached?
I can’t look too far ahead because as wide as the track is, the illusion of it narrowing makes my arms and hands tingle. “Hey Dee, doesn’t it look like the track is a tightrope? What if it were? I’d be falling off left and right.” I veer from side to side feigning exaggeration as she moves on ahead.
No choice left but to slow down the breath and focus on the sensations of the two wheels under me.
“Wow dance sneakers slip off pedals pretty easily. Yoga shorts have zippo padding. This wide seat isn’t wide enough. These brakes sure are loud. If Dee points out one more ‘spooky’ thing I’m heading back.”
Eventually I end my soliloquy and spent the next 3 minutes in mindful bliss until I ride into Dee’s back wheel.
“I can’t believe you ran into me,” she yells. “We are barely moving!”
She’s right about that. It’s a slow motion collision. It’s not like I don’t see her, I just misjudge the stopping distance. For my own amusement I will be replaying that scene for decades.
“Remember the last time we rode bikes down that hill near your apartment in Somewhereville?” I ask.
“Yeah, your chain fell off three times” she replies.
“Is biking fun?” I ask rhetorically.
“Remember when we went mountain biking and I thought I could jump a log? Frankly I’m pretty sure I hate bikes. Do your handlebars face in a different direction than your front wheel? Maybe my bike is just for riding in circles. Can you imagine if we were on a tandem bike?”
“Stop talking right now or I will wet my pants” she replies.
Note to self: “This is what makes biking fun!”
On the return trip I find a steady pace nothing spooky behind me, no death defying obstacles ahead. “We’re almost back to the truck that took no time at all!” I feel happy, comfortable, calm, satisfied.
“Do you want to keep going?” Dee asks as she pulls ahead.
“No” I yell at her back.
“Oh thank God” she adds unnecessarily.
Mindfulness is just like riding a bike. At first it seems impossible without permanent training wheels. Once we have it down, time goes by and we leave it hanging on the wall too long and forget it’s an option. Brush off the cobwebs and we are soon sailing along again.
Time to find the old catchers mitt.
Namaste- anyone up for a game of croquet?