Riding Off the Beaten Path

My bike’s tires are a lot like me. Cautious and a bit clingy but reliable. They grip the road snugly, though they make it difficult to keep up with Skyspook on our rides, slowing me down. His tires are larger, smoother, thinner, flick over the road with ease. He’s had 3 flats but knows how to fix them and has done so each time, completely nonplussed.

I find him waiting for me much further up on the trail. “Should I slow down?” he asks me.

If you want to,” I reply.

Well, I don’t want to lose you.”

And I don’t want to drag you down.” I sigh. “I’m pedaling as fast as I can though.”

I’ll try going slower,” he says.

And he does. It’s still a good clip for me, but now I have the added benefit of a prime view of his backside. At the reduced pace, I find myself gasping less for air, enjoying my passing surroundings more.

The sense of struggle drains away, and I’m left with the pure bliss of flying along the trails, the wind at my back, the shadows of the overhanging trees flickering over me like a muted TV kept on for company.

*

When Skyspook suggests we take off on a 10-mile bike ride at nearly 8:00 at night, after we’ve both had long days at work, to have frozen custard in lieu of dinner, I wonder again about his sanity, as I do.

Left to my own devices, I am not a person who takes large risks — and certainly not electively. Most gambles have been when cornered, left little other choice.

And yet, here he is, with another adventure, out of the blue, on a work night.

Yes, Sir,” I say.

He asks me twice, gives me an out, reassures me that I don’t have to if I don’t want to. Apparently he can hear the indecision in my voice.

Well, at least I want to want to go. And that’s enough for both of us.

We chase daylight, pedal furiously, feast on turtle sundaes for dinner. After, we ride home at sunset high on sugar, and the twilight is crisp and beautiful and divine.

*

It’s been a year of adventures, of spontaneity, of whimsy, of wonder – and though my tires still grip the road more than his do, even though I get a slower start and more easily lose momentum, I find myself venturing out more and more, being a person who leaps when the moment seizes me.

It’s quite a task being companion to someone so brave, but I’m finding the rewards are great indeed.

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