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I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride my bike

I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride it where I like…

~ Bicycle Race, Queen

This is "Bike-y" - my mountain bike

A history of cars…

I’ve never had particularly good luck with cars.

My first car – Rocky – was a hand-me down Toyota Sunbird. He’d belonged to my great-aunt and uncle.

Rocky didn’t get that name for nuttin’. He wasn’t the fastest car, there was no power steering and air conditioning was a fantasy. The heating wasn’t so great in winter, to the point I’d drive in gloves and a ski jacket. I dented his driver side door when I was still learning how to drive… and later he got rear-ended by some young dude. Rocky was never quite the same again.

My next car I bought with my fiancΓ© (at the time) – something I contributed several thousand towards… but when I left him (and he kept the car), d’ya think I saw a cent of that cash? (I’ve managed to be ripped off by a couple of exes…)

Finally I got a loan and bought my very own car – a big-arsed dual-fuel station wagon – great for throwing my bike in the back, camping and road trips. But it was a money pit with multiple (expensive) issues over the years. I finally sold it (to Andre no less) and I was glad to see the back of it.

Travelling in style…

When I moved to Melbourne and started a rather cushy job with a large corporate, I decided to take advantage of a salary packaging option – a novated lease car. Which meant I sacrificed $XX pre-tax but that included all fuel, servicing… everything.

For the last few years, that’s what I’ve been driving. Yet I’ve never been a car person. You can’t impress me with ‘hot wheels’. I was just glad to have a reliable car with no additional out of pocket expenses.

Then, when I chose to quit my job I knew that meant quitting my car too. I didn’t even flinch.

Bike-y and me…

So now its just me and my two-wheeled friend. I’ve always loved cycling… the pic above was taken when it was brand new and before I’d fitted it with panniers (and also before I almost destroyed it when I forgot it was on top of my car whilst trying to enter a car park – its all good though!).

“Bike-y” is now my main form of transport which is proving extremely pleasurable. Much more so than driving. Most days I ride to work (just fifteen minutes) because it’s easier and kinda faster than the bus or the tram. And it gives me more freedom too.

In fact, Bike-y has played a very important in role in recovering from my latest headlong nose-dive into PTSD (episode XVIII, approximately)…

Tearing around the neighbourhood on Bike-y, I noticed my poor bruised and beat up heart began to feel… less painful. Even if it was only for a little while… so I kept riding. And whilst it wasn’t everything I needed to get better, its helped a lot.

Thing is, if I’d still had a car, there’s no way I would have been out on my bike given how I was feeling. Because you see, I associate cycling with pleasure and my self-negating state of mind would have cancelled that out… if I wasn’t reliant on Bike-y for transport.

Better…

Yesterday I cycled 10kms each way (not so far) to work as an election counting officer for the day. As I cycled home, I found myself singing AC/DC (‘Rock ‘n’ Roll aint noise pollution…’) as I built up speed along wide sun-speckled tree-lined streets. And I realised right then – oh wow, I’m… not in that place any more. At least not for now. Not right now

It felt rather odd, kinda like I’d escaped prison when the warden wasn’t looking…

So, I sang even louder and thanked my lucky stars I was on my bike instead of in a car. Generally whilst driving, everything is about what happens in the car and making sure you drive safely, avoiding other people’s bad driving.

On my bike… I’m in the world, participating…

~Svasti

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