When I decided to start riding a bicycle from my home near the Village to my then-workplace in St. James last spring I honestly didn't think I could do it. At the time I was an out of shape drunk who hadn't ridden a bicycle on a regular basis in at least 3-4 years. Still, cycling to work felt like a much better option than taking the bus, and at the time I was already in the midst of one of many pseudo-attempts to change my lifestyle.
So there I was with a beat-up ol' junker of a bike, standing outside of my apartment building at the beginning of what would prove to be a perfectly humbling attempt at a first ride. I hopped on, confident that I couldn't be that out of shape, and certain it wouldn't be that difficult.
Fifteen or twenty minutes later I pulled back up to the front of my building, panting like I was about to die. The ride had not gone well at all. Despite the hit to my ego I decided not to give up, and later that week or the next I finally rode my bike all the way to work. Unfortunately I did not ride home from work, as that junker bike of mine turned out to be beyond repair. I sold it for scrap and received a few bucks that I then put towards a shiny new bicycle from Corydon Cycle, which I promptly named “Tina”.
Tina and I got used to cycling the ~30 minutes to work each day, and life was good. She became my main method of transportation over the summer, shuttling me all over the city. Despite the fact that I was still drinking heavily at the time I was able to end the summer in okay shape. You know, considering.
So here we are again, sliding into spring time in Winnipeg. I took Tina out of storage last week (or rather, Jackson did it for me on his day off, because he is a gem of a human being) and had her tuned up at Corydon Cycle (for free!). I rode her to my new workplace in St. Boniface for the first time on Friday and the ride was amazing. The trip only takes about ten minutes by bicycle and everything about it is lovely.
The truly wonderful thing about having my bicycle back in action is not the ease of transportation (although that is not to be underestimated), but seeing the difference in the quality of my rides now that I have been sober for a decent chunk of time. Jackson and I went for our first long trek together Saturday morning, covering just over 20 kilometres of road. Instead of being winded or feeling like I wasn’t physically capable, I felt just fine. In fact, I felt great. Unstoppable, even. Because I am well rested, well hydrated, and just more physically capable than I have ever been. Because I am sober, and because I have learned to give a shit about my body and my life.
So that’s that. I guess I’m feeling a bit better about life than I was last week. Maybe all I needed to get out of my funk was to rekindle my love affair with cycling? Who knows. I’m just glad I get to watch spring blossom in our little city from my perch on top of two wheels.