Friday’s Bike Ride (10/01/10)
We’re back together again! The bike and I reunited today at the bicycle shop. I took a late afternoon stroll to pick up the blue Schwinn, who now has tires that feel like rocks. I didn’t realize until I rode the Schwinn back to work that when a bike has really hard tires, you feel all the little nooks, bumps, and crannies of your terrain. It’s jarring at first, all those textures announcing themselves, through your tires, to your bum. But it’s great to have a healthy bike again, one that doesn’t require air in the back tire every time I go for a ride. I rode the bike very leisurely from campus to almost-home, and I hit that sweet spot where the wind was blowing through my hair, the evening air smelled sweet, and everything else just fell away. I love that moment.
Today I was exhausted from last night’s madness, so I treated myself to dinner at Blue Baker, just soup and a sandwich. The Tomato Basil Bisque was outstanding! It was creamy, rich, and spicy with black pepper. I was a little overeager when I took my first spoonful—I forgot that soups are almost always served mouth-searingly hot at restaurants. But the heat melted the long shreds of Parmesan into savory, melty bits, adding just a touch of texture to an already-delightful soup. I ate dinner outside, by myself, over by the fountain, underneath a dark, dreamy sky while listening to live music, courtesy of Independence Harley-Davidson’s local breast cancer awareness event, V-Twins for the Twins Ride. Harleys always remind of my college philosophy professor, the late Dr. Ned Garvin, who was a total badass inside and outside the classroom. So it was with fondness and a touch of heartache that I smiled at the Harley event and thought about Ned, who lost his own battle with cancer four years ago.
I don’t ride a Harley, just a Schwinn and the bus, but I think Ned would approve of how much fun I’ve had riding my borrowed bike. Ned lived his life like he didn’t know when it would end, and he squeezed as much pleasure and fun out of it as he could. He was generous with his love and unflinching with his affections. I’ve never met anyone quite like him, though my current flame comes pretty close*. Ned’s attitude is one that I’ve tried to embrace, and every bike ride helps make everyday life closer to that ideal.
* I think Ned once told me that if he was unattached and thirty years younger, he would have totally asked me out. At the time, it struck me as very high praise. I was no longer his student in any official sense, and we were good friends and loyal pen pals via e-mail, so his comment was fun and flattering, not threatening or creepy. I miss Ned’s warmth and compassion every day.