Youth Bike, Jamestown, NC
Passing through the neighborhood this morning on my way home from the gym, I noticed a youth bicycle that had been painted Carolina blue and parked against a tree as a yard decoration. I had just been driving for a few miles in the latest of a long line of carefully selected automobiles representing my lifetime romance with the road less traveled. Leaving the sanctuary of my home block was never in my thoughts this morning or any morning in recent memory. I ventured out with no compunctions of crossing streets or staying within designated boundaries.
But the sight of that bicycle resurrected long-lost memories that flooded back into my thoughts. I remembered the idyllic summer days of my childhood when I rode my first bicycle in endless circles around our city block. I was under strict orders not to cross the street and venture out into traffic or suffer unknowable consequences that would not be pleasant. So, I pedaled around the cracked sidewalks with increasing speed and agility to test my wings for the great escape!
And that momentous day arrived when my mother finally gave me permission to venture off the concrete sidewalks and across the forbidden asphalt street to visit a neighborhood friend from school, provided I stop and look both ways before proceeding. From that day on my clipped wings began extending exponentially and before long I was riding with friends further out beyond the invisible boundaries of the world around me. We eventually crossed one of the main thoroughfares not too far from home and explored the nearby college campus with its wide sidewalks, stadium track and scenic bridge over the local lake.
Later in life, I graduated from college and drove my first new car to the big city in search of a career job and adventure. That experience then led to my first jet plane trip out of state to Chicago for a business meeting which pushed the boundaries even farther. Those trips led to changing employers and opportunities to travel out of the country where people no longer spoke my language and considered me the foreigner.
My world has admittedly retreated somewhat these days even though I still enjoy travelling for pleasure and strictly avoiding those 6:00 am redeye flights. I no longer ride a bicycle for safety’s sake. But I still enjoy diverting my drive home many times and simply circle the neighborhood for old time’s sake. And now that I think about it, I was also expanding a multitude of life boundaries while I was forever pushing those boundless physical boundaries!