I’m thirty four years old and I have just purchased my first, shiny new bicycle – ever. Let me clarify: yes, I have ridden a bike before, usually by borrowing a friends or perhaps utilizing a rental shop. Twice in my thirty four years, I even had use of a bike for a few months, but I won’t quite say owned; let me explain. The first one, was over a summer way back in fourth grade, My dad brought me a bike to ride for the summer while I'd at least be in the same province. It was green and sparkly and yes, had tassels from the handles: I loved it to pieces. I didn’t get to keep it, as was the fate of most of my belongings growing up.
That’s what happens when you move across country twice a year, every year, until sixth grade. I have actually been to fourteen schools in total, and I am not part of a military family. After an unfortunate subway accident, my mom’s mom had to move into an assisted living home, near Scarborough, Ontario. My mother hated the winters in Ontario – period. Despite the fact that I was born in Scarborough on the wicked wintery December 31st, ever since I was perhaps two and a half, we had never experienced another Ontario winter. We ditched the East for beautiful British Columbia.
See, herein lies the makings of a rather mobile childhood. For the next nine years, objects, places, and people were sadly, all temporary. That included the best of childhood friends and unpackable prize possessions such as a shiny green bike.
The next time I had a bicycle to use somewhat regularly, wasn’t until my high school years, around the end of ninth grade and into the summer towards tenth. It was belonged to my moms boyfriend who told me it had been sitting unused in his garage forever. Yes, it was a boys bike and it was too big for me, but that didn’t stop me. I rode it anyway, because I love riding bikes. I'd ride from Metrotown in Burnaby, down to Canada Games Pool in New Westminster and back. I’d ride through Central park and along the nice bike trails beneath the Skytrain. All the while enjoying rolling through the city with the breeze in my hair. Up until the unfortunate day it was stolen. Not going to lie, I was pretty upset and angry over the loss of that bike, despite its ill fittings. I was too busy enjoying the ride to let size matter.
Financial restrictions prevented me from getting a new one or even a used one for that matter. If we couldn't afford a two bedroom apartment, or a car or a phone (at times we were using a payphone), we certainly couldn't afford to get me a bicycle. After I graduated high school - Class of '97 thank you very much - I worked four different jobs at once, barely came up for air! I began saving up for a trip to Australia and for post-secondary school. I was busy as hell, but things were good. Until I got hit by a car, ‘Pedstruck’ as they call it. Pretty badly too. I was off work for ten months recovering from a seriously broken right leg, as well as damaged (snapped) Medial Collateral Ligaments, twisted Anterior Cruciate and more.
During physical therapy, there are sports and activities that doctors recommend for low impact exercise, like swimming. Cycling is not one of them.
Today, however, I purchased MY first ever, brand new, comfort ride bicycle, Sanctuary 7 by Schwinn. It's Mine! And it is beautiful – I already had a few compliments on my way home - and it is a comfortable ride. After one ‘test ride’ though, as I brought my bicycle home, I sit on my sofa typing this and already I feel the aggravation of the ligaments in my right knee. Vaguely I can hear the voice of my physiotherapist and doctors advising against cycling, and can't stop the frown. I want be able to experience the enjoyment of cycling again. Hopefully if I am mindful and don’t overdo it, I will be able to minimize any pains and strains. As I have no intentions of scaling mountains, but wish to cycle the sea wall and along city trails, to get outdoors more and more active too. I am hoping there will be no regrets. Here’s hoping!