Essay: Post-Election, Ride Your Bike

Autumn Cycling
Sure, cycling represents an escape. But a bike ride always brings me home stronger.

I’m often asked, Why bicycling? Well, there are lots of reasons. But here’s one root of my passion: Bicycling never let’s me down. It’s always there for me.

My bicycle is a vehicle for escape, to be sure. But a bike ride always brings me home stronger. It adds something to my essence, whether the day reveals a heart-stopping view of the ocean on a sunny summer morning or pummels me with cold and wind in the fading light of autumn. I bask in the freedom that two wheels afford. And, as a woman who is attuned to bicycling’s historical role in the fight for women’s rights, I honor it with every ride. In fact, I rely on bicycling to maintain balance, especially when the road gets rough.

A shocking week renders me, like so many fellow New Yorkers, disoriented, questioning, wondering what’s next. As I try to begin to piece together what actions I can take as an individual and collectively with others to preserve values and institutions that matter to me, I will – most particularly — count on a long bike ride for what I need most right now:

❥ To decompress.

❥ To reflect, calmly.

❥ To affirm strength and perseverance.

❥ To share time with friends and family.

❥ To be mindful of the majesty of nature, and its fragility.

❥ To keep joy alive.

I have mourned loss on my bicycle, thankful that the big cycling glasses I wear shield my tears from others’ view. I have used the solitude and mental space of cycling to reflect on challenges that I have faced in my life and sometimes been fortunate to summon answers. I revel in the community of friends with whom I share a love of two wheels. And I am at once humbled and inspired by the endless surprises and possibilities that unfold through pedaling outdoors, beneath an open sky and under my own power.

This weekend I will cross the George Washington Bridge and ride amid the last autumn finery of the Palisades overlooking the Hudson River, across which the view of my great city is distant and small — placed into a wider perspective and a different light. A couple of times, I’ve narrowly missed sliding out on fallen leaves along that rolling route. But thankfully, I’ve been able to hold my line, right my bike and continue on my journey. As we all must.

Photo: Alphacolor 13 | Upsplash

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