Love letter to a bicycle

Dear bike,
Thank you for being there at that critical moment
when I was poised at the edge of the nest.
Rather than reaching for a set of car keys, I rolled YOU out the door and into the world.  You were a cheap thrill for this young lady balking at the verge of adulthood.
20/20 hindsight justifies everything, and reveals some impressive accounting.

I saved at least $50,000 over the span of a twenty years (16 yrs old til 36)  if you pile together the cost of a car, its insurance, fees, and fuel.
Wait…more like $150, 000 factoring in the health bennies and averted disease from simply choosing the bike.
Oh, damn, I forgot! Make that half a million, thanks to the shrink visits I didn’t need.

Never mind the cosmetics that I forgot to buy, the nonexistent dry-cleaning bills,  the glaringly apparent immaturity (=youthfulness) that cycling seems to confer…

Here’s another truth–I banked every hour of time (not working for a car company or Big Oil) and got to spend it as I pleased. In your twenties and thirties, this
can be quite…how to put it? Subversive.

The taxes I didn’t need to pay.  The wars I didn’t fund. By not being stuck in a wage slave job, I could think independently, foolish and lost though I am…

You, my love, were and are the ideal tool to transform sorrow into forward movement, if only a few feet at a time.
You demo’d  that emotional flywheel trickthe one where you took my blues into the pedals, sent them around and converted them into glee, which pushed up through my feet, poured into my legs, and  back into my shattered heart.
You delivered me to the moment, to the center of Now.


Addendum: Dear Reader/riders…I have a car. My husband does, too. We are faintly hypocritical biker types…we don’t USE them much, but yes we have them, and I would never title a story “Rebel w/o a car” because starting at about 35 I had a car…and it’s been there, reminding me that I’ve not gotten all the way to pedal perfection cuz I’m chicken hearted about ‘getting somewhere’ with out careful planning/ride-begging, etc.
After 4,200 miles on a bike (supported, true enough) you’d thnk I could just blow off that darn Bluebaru. But no.

I want to thank my most careful, and thoughtful readers for their input. It is important.

~ by jacquiephelan on January 12, 2010.

7 Responses to “Love letter to a bicycle”

  1. Love this ! Proudly I can say that I have two sons who refuse to drive anything on four wheels. One is a carpenter in Denver the other is attending a medical college in Boston. I hope you include this in your book.

  2. Does this mean you have sold your car? I only made it about half through it before remembering that last I heard you own one. And so does C. Too bad people can’t be nice and share a little.

  3. Very nice Jacquie, capturing my sentiments exactly! Unfortunately I’ve spent a lot of that money on…new bikes! But that’s a far better cause…

  4. […] Jacquie Phelan’s career-long battle against cycling sexism has done nothing to vitiate her love for bikes. […]

  5. Agreed! Good show!

  6. I was thinking about this one yesterday- I’d escaped from the stay-at-home-dad salt mine for a quick jet across Vacaville & up the mini-mountain above Lagoon Valley park. I was hypnotising the road below me into baby-butt schmoovness, recalling how I used to watch my pedalling shadow- I’d veer away from the edge of the sidewalk, imaging the bike taking flight.
    Later games included goading the local cops into chasing me & my BMX-riding hooligan friends(out at night w/no lights, riding wheelies up & down Merchant street, the *cruise at the time). Up a curb, down an alley up a one-waystreet the wrong way & I would be so GONE. I must have pissed off dozen of the poor guys every summer for several years between the ages of 14 & 20…

  7. i love the phelan and the cunning man ham

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