How Do You Spell Freedom?

9 Aug

B-I-C-Y-C-L-E

(Nishiki and Zephyr rest in the kitchen after a Sunday evening cruise to Chinese food and a fast, furious night mission flying through quaint neighborhoods. Yeah!)

Backstory: When I was a kid, I had a sweet pink Schwinn with a flowered banana seat. I didn’t really ride it except when we lived in a housing subdivision for like, six months.  Then we moved back to the country and it ended up rusty and neglected outside the garage beside the three trash cans.

Living in the country, there were no sidewalks. And riding over the crumbly uneven soil just sucked. Our house was on a big hill and my sister and I invented ways to use gravity to our advantage in things that had wheels. Mainly, an old rusted Radio Flyer wagon.  Bikes? Not top choice.

The one time I decided to ride down the hill on a bike?  **H-A-Z-A-R-D** Underneath the field of long, golden California grass…the ground was riddled with gopher holes and probably snake pits and who knows what other kind of wild animal dens.  Long story short?  I took off helter skelter planning on the ride of my life; fast and thrilling.

Turns out, the only thing fast and (not) thrilling was my tremendous triple flip dismount over the handlebars when the front tire caught up in probably like, a badger burrow or something. And I ejected, a failed circus act, straight off that little flowered banana seat.  The bruising and shame of it all pretty much squelched any further daredevil tendencies.


Flash Forward: Until now.  Now, not only am I deep, deep in bike love but I am also reunited with my inner accidental circus rebel.  And now I bring common sense to the ride as well.  There is nothing like flying on an old steel road bike.  Life is right in front of you!  Butterflies graze my helmet, sun shines directly on my skin.  I am one layer closer.

I mean, you drive a car and to randomly stop at a garage sale requires work.  You have to execute a three point turn (only three if you’re lucky), you have to find parking, get out, lock the doors…by  now you’re probably a block away and you walk. Ugh. Walking good. The rest of it? Drudgery!

Ride a bike, spot a yard sale, crash up over the curb into the driveway and voila! You’re shopping. And there are shortcuts.  That actually make traveling shorter. Shortcuts in cars?  Never really shortcuts. Cutting through parking lots in a car requires waiting for other cars, following arrows.  You’re performing complete stops, losing patience.  Blahblahblah. On a bike?  You’re in. You’re out. Blam! Just like that. And you’re still obeying the rules of the road. Yeah!

Anyhow, about the Chinese food outing?  Hilarious.  So, we attempt to lock our bikes to the street sign in front of the joint…only to be thwarted by the polite yet insistent hostess who tells us repeatedly in loud clear English (with a thick accent) that we must park our bikes across the street. Upwards of ten times, even as we are moving our bikesthe shouting continues. Pointing to the city ordinance painted on the curb, and then to the bike rack directly across from us, she offers help and then I swear I hear her say, I wait for your ass.


And she did wait. Right inside the glass doors. With a deep bow, she seats us by a window with a perfect view of the bikes and announces–loudly–You watch bikes, see? And points.

There they are. Awesome.

The menu? Plum wine…of course. Mushu vegetables. Almond cashew chicken. Steamed rice. Yum.

The ride home?  Dark, cold, fast. Awesome.





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