Friday, March 30, 2007

And what did I do today, you ask?

Well! Since you asked.

Because it was a beautiful day, and I had dutifully spent the morning practicing my defense (I'm down to 24 minutes of fast-talking--got to cut that down) and cleaning my apartment (boyfriend is coming to visit this weekend), I decided to dust off the old bicycle--literally; the basement's pretty filthy--and go for a ride.

My poor bicycle. I still think of it as new, but I realized that it's coming up on 9 years old. The front derailleur doesn't work, but otherwise it's still in pretty good form. I lubed the chain, filled the tires, adjusted the seat, and went on my merry way.

There's a fantastic bike path really near me, and I almost never use it, because it's scary to get on it: you have to pass a highway exit, go up a long ramp with a lot of 180-degree turns, and then make your way down a narrow, terrifying concrete corridor. But all of this only takes about 5 minutes, and then there's the path proper. It's beautiful: it runs through a lot of foresty areas, alongside the water, and there are plenty of lighthouses and quaint little towns along the way. I did the whole circuit--30 miles roundtrip--in about 2 hours. I am horrifically sore, by the way.

I used to be a pretty serious biker, for about 10 months back in 1999. Now, however, my bike gathers dust. So I'm frankly pleased that I managed to sustain a 15 mph average for the whole trip.

This excursion has convinced me that I need to bike more. My life is better when I bike. And the feeling that bicycling gives me is incomparable. Maybe it's all the spandex (I still have my "serious biker clothes" from '99), but I always feel like a superhero when I'm biking. And then when I get back, it's like I've been on this crazy adventure, and it's hard for me to fit the bike trip, conceptually, into the rest of my life. For two hours I was out there with the wind and my breath and my muscles, with the bare trees and the birds and everything whipping past, and then all of a sudden I'm back home. It's a strange, sudden transition.

There's a great description in Proust of Albertine, the bicycling fanatic, "bent and bowed over the mystic wheel of her bicycle." I love that line. The mystic wheel. I don't know what he means and yet I do, which is the secret of a great image, isn't it?

2 comments:

Sisyphus said...

Getting outside is so great when you're at a point in school that you're very much inside your head. Keep it up! (tho' I'm not sure I endorse all that "excercise" stuff.)

And it's weird how things get old on us when time isn't passing, isn't it? The comic strip Piled Higher and Deeper had a great cartoon about the pink shorts. -"Hey, why you wearing pink shorts?"

-"What? These shorts are red, I tell you --- well, they were red when I started grad school --- Oh."

jb said...

Yeah, it's funny, I still think of so many things as "new" just because I bought them, you know, after college. Never mind that I'm about to attend my 10-year reunion.