Sleep lately consists of a series of cat naps, but last night I had some excellent dreams, one of which involved bike riding. The bicycle was not one I have ever owned in real life. It looked like an antique, with big wheels and a high handle bar, rusted like some old farm machinery pulled from a barn. But as soon as I got on it and shoved off, there came that familiar sense of freedom and exhilaration. I pedaled along country roads, not at all certain where I was going, but I felt capable and strong and on my way.
I’ve written before about bicycles and what they mean to me. On the road, I still choose my Mantis, built by Richard Cunningham, and I don’t think I will ever replace that trusty little craft. Monte keeps warning me that after twenty-plus years its components are wearing out and new ones will be hard to find, and it can certainly use a fresh coat of paint, but I love that bike. It’s a work of art, as far as I’m concerned, a functional work of art.
More recently I bought a sparkly pale blue Soulcraft pre-owned by my old pedaling buddy Righteous Christine, a passionate bike advocate as well as a former racer and downhill champion. Chris recently retired as director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, but bicycles remain a cause in her life, and now she even crafts bike jewelry. (Are all these links annoying? Sorry about that.) That’s the Soulcraft above, whose lightness and tiny gears I have come to appreciate out here on the dirt and steep grades. The darker blue bicycle in the foreground is Monte’s Mert Lawwill pro-cruiser, a good ol’ bike, probably deemed vintage by now.
Anyway, bicycles have figured into my life and Monte’s for a very long time, but we are enjoying a sort of bike renaissance lately. Recently Monte sold a highly-coveted two-wheeled collectible that was basically adorning our garage and bought the English beauty pictured here. This one goes places. He loves it.
He is also seriously contemplating his ‘n her folding bikes, a pricey purchase, but wouldn’t it be nice to step off a train or plane with your bicycle in a bag, ready to ride? I tried one out last week, and I’d have to get used to it, but I admit I am intrigued.
While we are on the subject of bicycles, which we certainly seem to be, here is one more link; it will take you to a post by my daughter Miranda, who, I am proud to say, has become a full-fledged bicycle person. She has no car in England and uses her bicycle as her primary means of transportation.
So anyway, last night I rode a rusty bike on the roads of my dreams, and today I think I am going to ride my bike for real. The thing about bikes is that they continue to make sense, even in our years of decline.
Plus they make me happy, in the manner of a ten-year-old.