I was scheduled for a 12 mile run on Saturday morning, but the Sturm und Drang of Friday afternoon at the office left me seething.
I can’t run when I am angry and processing. Cycling, however is great for thinking and working through feelings. Just pedal and think, think and pedal, converting the emotion into fuel.
So I broke out the 24-year old Schwinn 10-speed, the hydration pack, the sunscreen, riding gloves, the iPod, the GPS, the helmet and tossed everything in the car for a short drive down to the Santa Ana River trail. It struck me that this was a lot of crap to take on a bike ride.
I hadn’t ridden about 6 months, but I kept a pretty reasonable pace. It wasn’t the pace that I kept 20 years ago, but I was happy with it. I was pushing.
In the two to three miles before the trail, one starts to see the small families riding their bikes towards the beach as well as people making their way on their beach cruisers.
On this beautiful day, I found myself passing beach cruisers in both directions. Overtaking a beach cruiser is no big deal as they only have one gear. I have 10 and I use them. I use them to keep me going at best possible speed I can manage at that moment, much like I do life.
I saw cruisers in all shapes and colors, even a pink one ridden by a lady of advanced years. The words of Jenny Joseph mangled in my thought, “When I am an old woman I shall ride a pink beach cruiser with a white basket and orange tassels which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me“. The lady just casually rode along the beach on her cruiser alongside her husband, like she had nowhere to be. I was thinking about how long I could sit before I had to head back so my family and I could get on to the next commitment of the day.
The beach cruisers far outnumbered the road bikes on this day. I found myself thinking about the word cruise; such a nice word. An easy-going word:
cruise : Verb: Sail about in an area without a precise destination
I repeated the word many times in my head listening to it. The tune from Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville rolled through my head, “I hurt my heel had to cruise on back home”. The word is used as a verb, but it’s also reflects a state of mind. A simple and peaceful state of mind.
As I sat and looked at the ocean, I wonder why I’ve never cruised to the beach. You know, using gears that don’t max out my heart rate or require a hydration pack. My first response is that “God didn’t make me that way”. Those were the words of my step-father, I laughed the lack of personal responsibility the excuse exposed. One good heart attack and I could learn to cruise. I could learn to push a lot less harder. I just have to want to.
I wondered if I actually could be happy cruising to the beach. Living a slower life. One with less drive and fewer airplanes. Would it be boring? There’s just always so much that I want to get done and time is moving very quickly. The words of Ferris Bueller came into my head, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I thought I would try cruising home from the beach. It looks easy enough. I locked in behind a kid slowly riding up the trail inland. He veered off the trail about a two miles into the ride home and I was on my own. When I exited the river trail, I turned my GPS off with astonishment. Even with the slow start, I made the sixteen mile ride an average of a half-mile an hour faster than I did on the downhill ride there. Clearly, I don’t do cruise, yet.
On my father’s side of the family if one were to say, “the phone is broken, when are you going to get it fixed?”, the answer would more than likely be mañana, which does not mean tomorrow, it means, sometime in the future; maybe next week, maybe next month, but someday. Time moves a little slower in that part of the world. Likewise, if you ask me when I am I going to learn to cruise the beach without a GPS, an iPod, a hydration pack, two cellphones, the answer for today is going to have to be mañana.