The Love of Biking

By Judie Schaal

It’s January! It’s time for me to throw out the old – like the heels that I wore with just one dress. It’s time to bring in the new – maybe a new pair of tennis shoes that will entice me to start moving again. And, if I’m to add exercise to my life, biking is what I would choose. That brings back so many memories.

When I was a child I was into all kinds of activities, but that which gave me the most delight was riding my bike. I loved the feel of the wind in my face and the wheels turning to the rhythm of my heart. It gave me a feeling of independence. I was the master of my destiny.

Often I would head over to the local high school, walk my bike up a steep slope and ride down the graduated front steps, feeling excitement as the tires took me bouncing toward the bottom. There was the possibility that the bike would slip, turn over and I would break a bone or two, but that made it all the more challenging.

Then, without consulting me, my parents moved our family to a new neighborhood. Now my friends were far away. That inner challenge found me delighting in disobeying my mother and pedaling across town to visit them. What fun it was to see everyone! But that little ruse came to a swift halt when a friend’s parent mentioned to my mother how nice it had been to see me. I was grounded, bike in the garage!

Years went by, and biking became a thing of the past, especially when boys and cars entered the picture. I still might feel the wind in my face, but that was only when I was sitting very close to the driver of a hot blue convertible. Now the bike in the garage was forgotten, and my mother had other things to worry about!

However, the love of biking never left me and returned in full force when my husband and I were invited to join friends on a biking trip.

The adventure was to take place along the Natchez Trace. It was wonderful spending days winding through the scenic south. I loved the Spanish moss above us, swaying from giant live oaks. But, although the landscape was glorious, I found spending a week on a bike not quite the same as an hour’s ride through the neighborhood. A tormentor must have designed the seat on the Schwinn bike that I rented. It felt like I was sitting on a pile of rocks. That might be fine for a short ride, but for six hours? The little padding I had helped, but my slim athletic husband felt every single bone in his derriere.

And then there were the dogs we met along the way. There is something about revolving wheels that throw canines into a frenzy. It’s not too bad if you are going down hill. You can put your feet up on the handlebars and avoid being nipped at the ankles. But if you are pedaling up hill it’s a different story. You soon learn to cozy up close to another biker, speak softly and pray a lot.

Occasionally we would have to bike a few miles on a four-lane highway. This I found nerve wracking, as the wind from huge trucks racing by almost blew me off the road. The more seasoned bikers never worried, but I decided the chance of my returning home in one piece might be better if I got off the bike and walked. So I did!

I presently have a bike unlike the aforementioned one. It has a very wide seat, thick tires and a sign on the back (for drivers) that says, “Please drive slowly.” I would not take it out on a major highway, and I live in a neighborhood where dogs are under control.

So, out it will come and on it I’ll ride. Look out, world! I’ll be slim by Easter!

About this writer

  • Judie Schaal Judie Schaal lives in Murrells Inlet with Gary, her husband of 50 years. She has written for On The Green magazine, the Sun News as a tennis columnist and is currently copy editor and photographer of a local color 28 page newsletter.

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One Response to “The Love of Biking”

  1. Judie, your essay made me chuckle, and also inspired me to air up the tires and buy a new helmet. Your new bike is just my speed.

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