In May I became owner of an 18 speed road bike to carry out the exercise/health plan I had prescribed myself earlier in the year. This should be the end of the story but actually initiates the start of a whole fresh episode. First, biking requires accessories: a soft seat, bike rack, two tire pumps and minor items such as lube, lock and backpack to carry those things that don’t directly attach to the bicycle. These are all expenses I somewhat expected.
What I did not anticipate is the ever present specter of age in the form of awkward, sporadic balance. I recall once being able to easily register where the traffic was at all times. Looking back to traffic check is no longer so simple. Either the neck bone doesn't twist or the body is reluctant to rotate for fear of changing course.
And stopping the bike produces other unsteadiness. My memory plays a video of me sliding my bicycle to a controlled, smooth stop on gravel, laying the bike on its side.... being totally at one with the machine. That is no longer the case. Once, just once, I stopped—the bike stayed perfectly poised—and I smoothly dismounted. All other times I had no advanced knowledge as to which way the bike might fall and rarely felt properly in control. To date I have luckily guessed the fall direction and have averted scuffing or embarrassment.
Hopefully, I will find that balanced, poised self from an earlier time so I can get about the business of becoming one with my new found friend.