Yesterday I went for a bike ride. I pumped up the tires, brushed off the cobwebs, and strapped on my iPod. Riding my bike always reminds me of childhood, when speed and degree of steepness were no object because my knees were always skinned anyway. My bike was smaller back then and I really didn’t have too far to fall. Plus, I had legit high-tops and a pink helmet hand-decorated with pony stickers—aka, invincible.
Somewhere along the way, the bubblegum helmet was lost and I outgrew the purple bike with silver streamers. But I still love the feeling of gliding down a hill with the wind rushing into my t-shirt, and for that moment, I could be 7 again. (The neighbors were probably wondering who the full-grown adult was in a “Benjamin Franklin is my homeboy” shirt, flying gleefully down the street. Several times in a row. I might’ve been giggling.)
It occurred to me (in my adult capacity) that while riding without hands and feet is fun, it would really hurt if I fell. It’s taken years for my eternal knee wounds/scars to disappear, and now I work in an office. I think battered knees would be considered unprofessional. In fact, the older I get, the more I have to lose. We all do. And while I am all about stepping out, being adventurous, and taking risks, I’ve also come to the conclusion that it’s important to live in light of reality. Actions & decisions have very real costs, many of which are permanent, and it would be foolish to continue living like I’m 7. Mom & Dad can’t patch the wounds anymore, and it will take more than an awesome Lisa Frank-studded helmet to protect what’s important to me.
Don’t lose your sense of wonder. Say “yes” even when unfounded fear tempts you to retreat. But don’t underestimate the cost of the venture.
And (not to downplay the seriousness of this message) whenever possible…bike looking like this:
Awesome “cycle chic” images from Design Squish.