I bike in Chicago. This is not always wise.
Potholes puncture tires and motorists blast around you. I’ve gotten honked at for rolling through a stop sign slowly and also for NOT rolling through a stop (you can’t win) because a driver was irritated by a law-abiding bicyclist. I parked my bike in my fenced-in backyard once only to discover a few hours later the front wheel had been stolen. Should have locked it. A whole bike was stolen when I left it at work. Once I got doored and flipped head over wheels, miraculously only hurting my finger.
But this is not a story about any of that. This is a story about why I ride. At least I hope it gives a glimpse.
Summer was edging into fall and, if my memory serves, I’d biked a couple miles to church and stood poised to repeat the trip. Clouds had appeared in the sky and darkened, but I looked at the sky and said… I’ll make it. I don’t need a ride. I’m cool.
And so I took off for home along Kimball, a perpetually busy two-lane road that should have four lanes with bike lanes and whatnot but doesn’t. It’s not the friendliest of roads to bike on. Especially when the rain doesn’t wait.
In minutes I was drenched and hunkering, hunched over my handlebars in a desperate attempt to maybe keep half of me dry.
Soaked on that bike, I had a mini epiphany. It wasn’t possible to stay dry so I should stop caring about that. Why worry? More important was leaving extra room to brake, not crashing and dying, you know, the little things. Parked cars lined the road to my right. Traffic inched through the rain to my left.
And I realized this was fun.
I smiled and must have looked utterly goofy. The rain was cool, but not too cold. The road was slick, but my way was clear. People were giving me funny looks inside idling cars going nowhere.
I was handily beating rush hour traffic.With new life in my legs I pressed forward through puddles. The miles fell away and I made it back safe, utterly drenched and absurdly happy. It felt good beating all those cars and proving to myself I could do this. Powered by my legs and lungs my humble bike had taken me all the way home.
Joseph Paul “JP” DeNeui (he/him) is a basketball-loving missionary kid from Thailand transplanted to Chicago, Illinois, where he shivers through winters and writes fantasy and sci-fi. He is the author of the fantasy novel Shadow of Wings.
You can follow Joseph on Facebook, Twitter, his website, or LinkedIn to see what’s going on in the world of fantasy writing, fiction, and general fun. Or, if you happen to love a good epic fantasy novel, check out his book in paperback or Ebook.
Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org