Monday, August 20, 2012 riding a bike...

I have noticed that people of all ages ride bikes in this town.  They mostly seem like they are riding  for riding's sake; like a bunch of little kids let out of school, and now they're whizzing off on some bike riding adventure or personal pleasure mission.  People of all ages, yes, but a large cross section of them seem to be old men.  Old men, reliving childhood joy.   This is how it seems to me. 
     In San Jose, from where I moved 3.8 months ago, a lot of people ride bikes, but it's different.  There, bike riding feels like a technological advance, along with recycling, campaigning to save snow leopards, and eating vegan, often all at the same time; San Jose-ans (and Bay Area-ans in general) are nothing if not multi-taskers. Even the clothes they wear for bike riding seems technologically advanced,  as aerodynamically smooth and reflective as possible, their bikes the lightest weight, for the purpose of race training, triathlon or tour De France. Even if they are not actually going to be in the Tour De France, they want to be able to ride as if they are. A picture of engineering at it's finest, by a group of engineer type thinkers who know how to cut everything down to it's most scientifically finite particle.
     Here in Redding?  It seems to me that people wear whatever feels comfortable on a bike.  Including but not limited to baseball type caps with bells and whistles and twirly thingado's and of course, a smile.  Because when you ride your bike in Redding, you can't help but smile as you ring your bike buzzer to let a person know you are coming up behind her/him on the trail.   
      Throughout childhood, I used to love to ride my bike around and around the block, getting extra air where the roots of a neighboring tree had the nerve to push the sidewalk up.  I'd ride on pretend adventures in which my bike was not actually a bike, but a car or an airplane, and it never once occured to me that I was exercising anything other than my wild imagination. 
      I haven't owned a bike since I was a kid; I haven't even really thought about it since, but living here is reminding me of how fun it was, then.  Even my husband has a bike. Yesterday, when we were almost home from church, a group of bike riders rode past our car, and Sam turned to me and said "I wish you had a bike, too." He knows that when I do get one, we'll  ride around town together and ring our bells at anyone in front of us, just for an excuse to ring them, perma-smiles plastered on our faces as the wind carries our laughter up and over the Sacramento River.

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