At times when I get on my bike, I feel like a little kid playing pretend. I feel small, holding on to handlebars that are high above me. I watch the peloton racing by, their moisture-wicking jerseys and padded pants signifying passion, and I look at my t-shirt and leggings and bright pink girly helmet and feel like a piker–small-time and amateurish. A piker biker. I feel like a little kid, as though I should have multi-colored streamers flowing from my handlebars.
At the same time, something–rebelliousness mixed with joy–rises in me. Who the heck cares? Do the other bikers care? Of course not. Does my bright pink girly helmet protect my head? Yes. And my t-shirt and leggings are what I have right now. Eventually, I will get padded bike shorts, maybe a better saddle, a jersey that I’ve earned from a ride.
But for now, I’m okay with what I have. I can be that little kid. I didn’t ride a bike when I was young. No particular reason, I just walked everywhere. Now, however, when I’m on the bike, I feel free. Cliched, maybe, but true nonetheless. I am free. I am uncluttered. I am unfettered. I am grinning like a little kid as I go down hills, enjoying the feeling of my hair flying out behind me. I am a cyclist and I will not be stopped.
I am a cyclist.