coming back to the bike

“It’s when you come back to bicycling, after long dispractice, that you realize how exquisite a physical art it is.”

Christopher Morley, author, The Romany Stain

Long dispractice.

Yep. Bought property. Sold property. Moved across the country. Fix up/ decorate/ make the house ours. Inertia. Not an urban rider. Few roads for road riding. Don’t want to get in the car to go for a bike ride! No one to ride with.

I’ve managed to come up with a number of excuses not to ride since our big move. Recently, though, I’ve gotten out a bit more. Mostly in town, but on a couple of occasions I’ve gone out to the Mississippi River Trail. You ride on the top of the levee. [Back to excuses: The scenery doesn’t change. It’s boring. It’s all flat.] “Well, buddy, you knew that going in.”

In some ways, New Orleans is a very bicycle-friendly city. There are LOTS more riders out there these days. The city is putting in bike lanes all over town. A bike-share program will launch this fall.

But in other ways, it’s still a bit problematic. Motorists don’t always know how to drive with people on bicycles on the road. Many of the bike lanes are “door-zone bike lanes,” which are potentially an accident waiting to happen.

But if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that there is joy in riding here. The sights, sounds, smells of the city. The greeting called out to passers-by, and their happy response. The understanding that I wouldn’t have really saved any time by getting in the car and driving to many places I want or need to go!

And, as Mr. Morley points out, the exquisite physical art that is riding a bicycle. Legs pumping, heart beating, lungs hard at work: the unconscious dance that is balancing the bike, a skill that you likely learned as a child. Arms signaling, head turning, negotiating with motorists: the conscious dance that is riding in traffic, the skill you are still learning as an adult.

It is an art. A beautiful composition. A bike, the most efficient form of transportation in the world (this will be a future post!). A rider, whether for pleasure or utility, elegantly moving from place to place.

I’ll be doing more of it.


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