I vividly remember my first bicycle. It was a red Schwinn with a banana seat and gooseneck handlebars. Schwinn was the hot brand. I do not recall if the bike was new. Given our finances, I doubt it. I do know that it was customized in my style! Nobody else had gooseneck handlebars. While the banana seat was common, the combination made this bike was unique. Add one eager kid – barefoot or in shoes, t-shirt or not, and not a helmet in sight – and you had every ingredient in that day for happiness.
I had no idea that any bike could be a better ride. I simply knew what I knew. I can remember the wind flying in my hair. I can see the odd custom touches on top of the already customized bike that came and went. I close my mind and find myself in a very different time and place.
We did not worry about safety equipment. We knew were invincible! We did not think about training routines. We were in great shape! We could not imagine riding out through the woods or along the coast. We knew what we knew.
This morning I discovered the rock-loc on my helmet has finally lost its grip. I was going to give up on the idea of riding until I remembered my back-up helmet. With a few adjustments, I was set. Helmet, gloves, a bit of fluids in case I need some hydration; I was ready.
My ride was very different from when I was eight. I now wear dri-fit instead of a t-shirt and beat up shorts. Cleated-shoes have replaced my thrashed canvas converse low-tops. Instead of cruising around the block, I took a planned 15km ride around the hills of Redlands.
I wonder what it would be like if I approached the rest of my life the way I look at cycling. “God overlooks it as long as you don’t know any better—but that time is past. The unknown is now known, and he’s calling for a radical life-change.” (Acts 17.30)