I rode my bike to today for the first time in a what seems like forever.
Last summer, my bike was the unfortunate victim of my busy life. If you read my post, A Day in the Life you may recall that I keep a pair of black dress shoes at my desk so that when I ride to work, I can change from my riding boots to dress shoes. Stuck between busy and hating to go shopping, I never replaced those work shoes when the leather wore out last spring. My bike was then relinquished to only coming out on casual Fridays.
Bikes are made for riding, more than once a week and more than 2 miles to and from work. Mechanical problems started setting in, including the old battery dying. Even though it was on a battery charger all week, it wouldn’t keep a charge. I had to push start it a few times last summer and after it died in the middle of the street late last summer, I got frustrated and decided to park the bike until I time magically freed itself up.
I only needed to go out, jack up the bike and replace the battery with a new one, but I never made time. Maybe I just didn’t want to. Eventually, Like the guy in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I gave in and had my neighbor trailer the bike down to my mechanic. I disappointed myself in that I didn’t make time to take care of something that so enriches my life.
When I picked up the bike at the shop, the curmudgeonly mechanic had a few words for me. He told me that he had a conversation with my bike and that it wanted to be taken on long rides. I acknowledged that I understood and that I would take care of it. I didn’t tell him that I would soon be on the road again, but in an airplane.
It felt good to be riding again. I took the long way to work in the morning and again after lunch. I missed being undistracted and alone with my thoughts. I remembered how riding shakes up my creative juices and fills my spirit up. I feel like I have gotten a dimension of my life back that I abandoned in the garage.
I realized that there was this cascade of seemingly unrelated events: shoes wore out lead to the bike breaking down, lead to a loss of creativity which lead to a low-level of dissatisfaction with several aspects of life. All of which started with me being just too busy. It brought a new take to the Socratic warning: “Beware of the barrenness of a busy Life.”
For now I just need to find a second pair of black shoes to keep at work. Maybe when I get back from my travels?