History has shown us that just maybe a bicycle ride through Dallas might have been the better option on that fateful November day nearly 52 years ago this month, but alas, we cannot re-write history. What many of us hopefully can do is take a different page out of Mr. Kennedy’s book and enjoy one of the simple pleasures he seemingly enjoyed.
We don’t need much to get on a bike and enjoy the scenery, be it a vibrant ride through a city, a quiet ride on a fire trail through the woods, or a weekly jaunt with friends through the leafy suburbs or surrounding countryside. There is certainly some truth in the above quote when you know the feeling of two wheels whizzing underneath you powered by your two legs. All else becomes part and parcel of the experience; the angry cabby saluting you with a carefully chosen finger as you nip just that too close to their yellow chariots, the sweaty uphills, the eye-watering descents or just the camaraderie of enjoying a few hours out with your mates. A bike ride truly is one of life’s simple pleasures.
“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”
~H.G. Wells, novelist
I see many adults on bicycles where I live, and I must say I do agree with H.G., it does lighten my heart when I see someone riding back from the bakery with a few baguettes poking out of their front basket. Yes I have had the pleasure of riding through many countries of this wonderful world. I have seen everything from baguettes to live chickens being transported on two wheels. I have helped to get bicycles to small villages in the bush of Sierra Leone, and have sold and repaired bicycles in many places on this tiny planet of ours from the south of England, the hinterland of Ireland, to a small well-known island named Manhattan. In all those places I found the people have one thing in common, smiling faces while pedaling their steeds.
If you think you are too busy to take a bicycle ride with your family or friends, I will play with the words of the Dalai Lama and say those are the times when you need to go out for a ride even more (the original quote was pertaining to meditation;-).
I have started a few local rides in many of the places I have lived, most recently in the small village I now reside in the south of France. Since having children and stopping my worldly travels with my bicycle, I have taken many rides with my wife and kids. We explored many of the different areas we lived in by bicycle. Here in France my son and daughter grew up riding on the rural roads. As my son got older and embraced the simple two-wheeled invention, even more than me it would seem, we took many a ride within view of the beautiful Pyrenean mountain chain. I would jokingly say to Louis, “Son your dad grew up in The Bronx, we should be under the el right now dodging cars!” But there we were on the empty lovely roads of Ariege in France. That being said I have many fond memories of riding around The Bronx. I have always explored the places I live by bicycle.
One thing is certain you don’t need to spend lots of money to enjoy a bike ride. There are plenty of used bicycles out there. Many good quality bikes were made in the 80’s and 90’s that you can upgrade and retrofit with lighter equipment to make the ride a bit more pleasurable. The crew I ride with have all different bikes and many different levels of fitness, but we aren’t racing. We do sometimes pedal on the same roads that the famed Tour de France riders race on under the sweltering July sun, but we’re stopping a bit more to enjoy the Autumnal colors, the Spring flowers or waiting for a fellow cyclist struggling that bit more. No matter what the mileage is, or the weather for the day’s ride, we all come back smiling, sleep well that night, and await the next time we’ll take our simple, pleasurable bike ride.
Enjoy the journey, and this well-known song if you like!!