I don’t understand, I like riding my bike - well I did like riding my bike when I was younger. I had a yellow BMX Alien, although all my friends called it Alan, it had either three or five thick yellow plastic spokes not metal ones in the wheels and random bits of padding. Five or three as I can not remember, what ever it was it was better than the other kids bikes as it was mine. Unlike my “drop-handled” bike or “racer” it had no gears, well technically it came with one which was “fast” and so I could be seen out and about with my mates up and down dale generally looking tired and or panting, puffing or making some sort of engine noise.
Then something happened which I can not explain. The world changed on me and now I find my drop sat in my parents garage next to “Alan” and an uncontrollable fear of the road.
I have no kids, no offspring no progeny to whom to fear for. No change of understanding of the rules”of the road” nor did I have a major accident involving death (near miss but not death). I do not understand nor comprehend my own mortality and am in constant pain most of the time anyhow so it can not be an irrational fear of death or injury. So the only thing I can attribute this change was the passing of my driving test and becoming a driver. Since then I guess I no longer see the innocence of riding my bike and instead only see the dangers of the bastards in the big metal boxes. That and there now seems to be a million cars, vans and buses on the roads all belching crap out directly into your face and seeing how close they can place you to the curb or locate their wing mirrors up your jacksee. Even that is not what I am not really afraid of, is it, really that I will find myself sat on the bonnet of some gilberts merc with my pancreas in one hand and my spline poking out of my left nostril.
I hate it. I would love to ride my BMX again or go up hill and down dale but I can not. One I live in Manchester now which is flatter than a flat thing which has been ironed and two I’ve lost that magic that passion. Nothing feels as fast as going down hill on you bike knowing that your brakes are a bit sticky and the last time they failed they put you over a barrier, down a six foot drop on to your head. But then you had cool scares and were made of plastic and rubber and just bounced back. This is all a bit contradictory. Perhaps there is two parts of my body or brain one which is still looking into the mirror and seeing the young teen made from kevlar and a elastic bands the other which wakes up everyday with a stiff back, a mortgage to repay and a beautiful fiancée to come home to after work and ignore.
Even if I did want to ride my bike say to work I couldn’t. I would need to ride to the train station as the trams do not let you have bikes on them. Then from there I would have to carry it down or up two flight of steps and all for a 5 minute ride at the other end. Or of course I could ride the entire route all 40+ miles and go into work once a month after surgery and recovery.
But the bike is not lost to me completely, now I have become a weekend bikerist and ride my bike with fiancée and family on canal tow paths up and down erm less dale’y dales and general pissing of the people walking about. Staying well clear of the bastard drivers until it is time to go home when I jump into my car.