I Have a Bicycle. Part 2: Not All Things on Wheels are Created Equal
November 6, 2008
12:10 PM: I step out into the nippy air to go to my Marketing class, and traverse across the walkway from my front door to the sidewalk. Out on the street, a teenager on a skateboard is trying to harness the moves made famous by Tony Hawk, Bob Burnquist and others. He tries to jump in the air and spin his skateboard and land on it. I should point out that I see skateboarders young and old try this move all the time, and I have yet to see one land it successfully. The teenager flails his arms in the air and kicks his legs. He bobs his head and spins his torso. He tries jumping from different stances, he tries it from a stationary position, he tries it rolling. Each attempt ends the same way. The skateboard hops, spins, lands crooked and sends the teenager stumbling. As I continue to walk away, I look back and see him trying a different skateboard trick. Jumping over a piece of roller luggage. His next moments look both embarrassing and painful.
The teenager doesn’t look like a pro-skater, he looks like a boisterous child doing jumping jacks on a piece of plywood. I can’t help but think of a fish flopping around out of water, and gasping. So much of me wants to take his skateboard away, set his two feet firmly to the ground and say, “This is where you belong. This is your home.” Then I would pat him on the head, and maybe we would embrace, and remember stories of learning to walk.
This experience teaches me that not all things on wheels are created equal. While this skateboarder resembles a rolling seizure, perhaps if he were to ride a bicycle he would evoke a different image. A French countryside dotted with bicycles being ridden by classy, old men with mustaches, for instance. I bring this up, because as I ride my bicycle, this is how I feel. Even though I have no mustache.
I have decided that this is how all bicyclists must imagine themselves.