Thursday, April 26, 2012
This is a tandem bicycle. The purpose of a tandem bike is for two or more people to ride together. It is a simple enough apparatus, and if both people actually know how to ride a bicycle, it's pretty easy.
When it's me and Jon, though, it's something else.
He rides a bike like its part of his body. I ride a bike like it's made of jello. He pedals and shifts gears with the efficiency of a swiss watch. I am tapdancing furiously, flappedyflappedy-ing my feet towards the pedals as they swirl by. His back is a perfect curvilineal bow, strong as a Roman arch. Mine is convex, then concave, then straight, then leaning to the left, then something like a trapezoid. His breathing is smooth and even. Mine is full of squeaks and grunts, sharp intakes and strangled gasps, stifled screams and the occasional death rattle. I'm practicing, just in case.
We take the driveway out, bumping along the ruts of the gravel, then pumping hard together up the tiny incline to reach the street. Then its a death-defying right turn at 1.2 mph, then a dash down the street - then another right omigod then we start going downhill whoopwhoopwhoop then a left, then we stop for a moment. I catch my breath, reacquaint myself with my rubbery legs, we walk the short way to the Cedar River Trail, then its back on the bike again to accomplish the utterly impossible.
I am learning to ride a tandem bike.
I am LEARNING TO RIDE A TANDEM BIKE.
The universe explodes out another galaxy, a scientist somewhere in the world discovers the Higgs Boson particle, a man falls twelve stories out of a high rise and walks away, but it is all nothing compared to the miracle unfolding as the trees go whizzing by. The breeze is caressing my face, the road is whirring beneath our wheels,I am laughing like an idiot and -- holy of holies -- I AM RIDING A BIKE.