Back in the Saddle

July 25, 2013

A 2005 Giant TCR C1

I am not good at hitting softballs. Never mind fast balls, curve balls, and knuckle balls, I tend to do terribly in sports that require some kind of aim. What I did enjoy was riding my bicycle. In high school I started riding small hills in a short route around my neighborhood. My parents upgraded me from a mountain bike to a hybrid bicycle as my high school graduation gift. I rode more and eventually bought a road bike. A couple of years ago a joint condition in my ankle made riding the road bike difficult so I took a break. I was benched and disappointed. Fortunately that has passed. The other day I literally dusted it off and took it for its first ride in a long time.

You do not forget how to ride. As I connected my shoes to the bicycle I could feel the activation of dormant neurons and electricity jumping across my synapses bringing my body into balance. Uncertainty was replaced with excitement as I tested the mechanics of the brakes and gears and found them fully functional. Fear gave way to adrenaline. I was free again.

However the freedom of the road is still laced with confusion. Motorists and cyclists often seem oblivious to the rules surrounding bikes. They belong in the road, not on the sidewalk where you can easily run into pedestrians. Riding against traffic by cyclists, a common sin, is disconcerting for motorists and dangerous for the cyclist. Motorists seem to get angry at the slow machine taking up their road space. Some intersections lack clearly defined sensors to trigger stop lights. We need to educate both the people behind the wheel and on the saddle on the rules. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go before Connecticut will truly be bicycle friendly, but that will not stop people like me from enjoying it.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.