Saturday, February 19, 2005

For the love of Bicycle

I wanted to call out this Valentine's day note that was written by a cyclist revealing the depth of feelings he has for his ride. It's something that I can relate to - and I'm guessing doesn't make a whole lot of sense to a lot of other people. Some of you may have heard me make comments about the emotional connection that I feel to my bikes. Here is the best description of those feelings I've seen.


So, without further ado, I'd like to pay homage to the lady I've given my blood, sweat and tears over the past 10 years. Maybe I should have titled this "My Bloody Valentine." Maybe some of you can relate.


She is waiting. She always is.

It's not hard to find her. She's in the wind and among the trees. She's on busy two-lane roads and vacant hillsides. She's wherever you last saw her and wherever you'd like to take her next.

She's all you could ask for. She's reliable. Her beauty is timeless. She mingles well in mixed company. And efficient; man, is she efficient.

And she's there for you, waiting patiently, whether it's for a cold, coffee-fueled morning or a late-evening sunset. Through scorching gusts of hair-dryer heat and torrential showers, she doesn't complain.

She occupies your thoughts, yet sometimes in passing you catch yourself looking away, pretending not to see her. Guilt, shame, call it what you will. As always, you've got your reasons. Work's been busy. The weather has been unkind. There were these guests, from out of town. And to this, she smiles. She's heard it all before, and she knows she'll hear it again.

She doesn't press you about time spent apart, but just the same, she could do without the excuses. She knows you care. For her you clean, you shave, you make sacrifices, and this she sees. From time to time you bring her shiny new jewelry, and she appreciates it. Let's just go, she says. We could talk about it later, she says, but talk is cheap.

Together at last, sharing the dance floor you create, it's as if you haven't missed a beat. And after a few short minutes, you don't.

You begin slowly, and before long you're moving in unison. Beads of sweat drip down your back, but she remains as calm and cool as ever, responding effortlessly to your every move. She's got rhythm. She can spin. She can dip. She's not afraid. She moves better than you. She leaves you breathless.

She fits to your body with perfection. If ever there was such as thing as "poetry in motion," this is it. The longer you go, the better she gets. At times, you teeter on the edge, but she holds you steady - except for when she doesn't.

She's dependable, she says, but you're an adult. Don't blame me, she'll say, when your blood is spilled. You make your own decisions.

As a companion she's been with you at your finest moments and stood by you during your most difficult. She allows you to believe you have what it takes to be a champion. She doesn't beleaguer your shortcomings. She's fiercely loyal and brutally honest; she's never lied to you, no matter how many times you've tried, in vain, to fool her. If it feels as though she can read your mind, it's because she can. She can see right through you.

But you're enchanted with her. She brings you to life, and life to you. She's more addictive than a drug, more dangerous than a train wreck. Through her you will hurt and heal and hurt again, but when you're with her, your problems disappear, and so the cycle continues. You cherish your times together; they seem to be the only instances in your life you don't feel as though you should be doing something else, and because of this, seconds fly by and stand still in tandem.

If you look forward to your outings as though they're some kind of a vacation, it's because they are.

With the release she brings, she may be the closest thing you've ever had to a therapist, but she doesn't come easy. She'll lead you into temptation, without apology. If you're looking to have your ego stroked, you best look elsewhere. As do all meaningful relationships, yours requires regular maintenance, but this you knew going into it. The better you treat me, she tells you, the better I am to you. This is how it works.

And from you she requires a different kind of commitment - not absolute devotion, but a promise, to uphold your end of the arrangement. It's an arrangement you asked for, she'll remind you. You asked for this.

But with the certainty of every setting sun, your time together invariably must come to a close. When the music finally stops, the band must eventually put its instruments away. She's aware of the situation. Only under the most rare of situations do you invite her in, and still, she doesn't complain.

It's been fun, you tell her, and as always, it has. With a gleam, she smiles. I'll see you again, soon, you say. Maybe tomorrow?

Sure, she says. I'll be here. I'll be waiting.

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