Sunday, July 22, 2012


I've been trying to go on a bike ride with Papa Seed most weekends.  Our bike rides are short, or would be for most people including the younger version of me, but they are strenuous enough.  I have to keep them flat, even the slightest incline makes my heart pound up through my throat, and the butt discomfort is intense. And not in a good way.

Years ago, my old bike was my essential means of transportation in Seattle.  I used it to get to work, to go to the gym, to go to the store and for recreation.  Funny what a couple extra hundred pounds will do to a body.  I don't recommend finding out if you haven't already gone down that road in life.  The late night noodles are delicious, but being able to move turns out to be better in the long run.

I'm trying to move again.  Today we rode our bikes downtown.  I had wanted to try this route but needed to do it during the early hours of a Sunday morning when things are quiet.  Along with oceans, forests, deserts and the interiors of funky art house theaters (RIP to most of them, but they will live forever in my heart), I feel most alive in quiet and abandoned industrial parts of town (even if the abandoned part is just every seventh day).  The route to downtown takes one past such areas, as well as shipyards, train tracks and construction sites on pause.  There were only a handful of people that we passed.  True, we were at times right by busy roads and bridges, but we were not on the busy roads and bridges.  The bike path took the road less traveled.

Near the end of the first half of our ride, we reached the official waterfront, and therefore people and cars.  I don't like most cars made after, say, 1970.  You have to go about a decade earlier for most people, and even then I prefer to read about them or see them on film than to actually interact with the, at least on a Sunday morning bike ride.  So we went a short distance and turned around.  Back to the quiet, the abandoned, the still and the peaceful.  It was a moody day with clouds and a crisp, cool air.  I like a good moody day, especially when on a bike ride through the quite and the abandoned.  Life was good.

Then we had to go back over a bridge.  Not a very high one, but the incline was more than my heft enjoyed.  My heart pounding, the gears of my bicycle kept slipping.  3/4 of the way up, I had to give in and then came the announcement that the bridge was "going up".  What was a racing heart became a frantic one, complete with dread and sweats.  The bell was deafening, my anxiety was blinding as I raced back to the halfway mark with visions of riding right off the edge of a lifting bridge to my horrible death (in fact, the bridge was low enough that I probably would have just caused a big splash before safely swimming to a boat dock).  Totally harshed my mellow from the quiet ship yards and big abandoned gray buildings.

The bridge doesn't actually go up.  The middle just swings around so one pleasure boater can get through while the rest of us wait.  I wouldn't have died even if I hadn't made it across the finish line.  Well, I may have.  My heart was pounding pretty hard.

A bit later I was home, exhausted and sore.  But proud of myself for pushing on.  I'll keep at it.  Eventually I will whip those soft inclines into complete submission.  It is ON!

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