When I was 20, I wore a little gold bicycle charm on a thin gold chain for a year straight. But I would never even think about wearing one of those gold Italian horns (like some of my friends were wearing). Those are so, well, Italian. I may be Italian, and I did receive a couple cornicellos in my day, but I’m just not that Italian. Actually, I did wear one amulet for a little bit (shhh). But it made me so uncomfortable.
Anyway, that little gold bike charm represented the one thing in my life at the time that I felt was important enough to wear around my neck…like one might display a bumper sticker when they want others to know something special about themselves. Really, who cares what you like, think, or honor award your child received? I believe we all go through it though.
That bike charm was kept in safe keeping for a long time after I grew out of wearing the “hey look what I love” around my neck. It’s been preserved in my many different jewelry boxes and residences over the last 25 years. I can’t exactly find it today, but I know it is here somewhere. I think.
I finally settled down on Cape Cod in Massachusetts about six and a half years ago knowing it would be a great playground for all that I loved to do; bicycling still being one of those things. I did add a couple interests to my more mature, less demanding love triangle though: kayaking and walking my dogs!
Soon after the purchase of my one and only “home,” thanks to the confident nudges from my dear and loving partner of 15 years (and experienced home owner), there was much more to be done than romancing on the island playground. Wow, did I learn a lot about roofs, furnaces, plumbing, heating, windows, yard work and cooking!
We didn’t have the time, money or quite frankly, the acquired taste for the local eateries anyway. No little dive Italian restaurants or vintage diners with amazing food for dirt-cheap here! Besides, we were just too tired to leave the house most of the time. And, ya gotta get up pretty early to water that garden.
Okay so like a few years later, I remembered I still had my very first Fuji mountain bike from 1987 tucked away in the basement and so wanted to have an affair with it. But, my very loyal and thoughtful partner recently (and proudly) bought me a new hybrid bicycle when she got hers as a Cape Cod “resident” celebration/treat. It was a really nice gesture and great for a slow, comfortable and casual ride together on a long, or short, sandy trail.
However, soon afterward I secretly had the mountain bike tuned up and rode it when no one was looking. T’was a little harder than I remember. Not so comfortable either. Bummer. Cape Cod National Seashore Trail here I (we) come. Oh my, what nice scenery…great company and lots of fun too.
My partner was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer just a few months after we got our new house, home, life, and bikes. We battled real hard for a few years, five to be exact. Surgeries, mastectomies, oophorectomy, unpronounceable prescriptions (for me anyway), treatments, steroids, chemotherapy (BIG guns/Red Devil), the whole nine yards. S’all good. You know what I mean.
We were finally getting back on track and ready to celebrate that big five year mark when WHAM! stage four with metastasis to bone, liver, and lungs.
It’s been a year and a half more and we have continued to be real troopers…. to put it ever so lightly. My partner had to leave her job as a surgical technician and try to collect Social Security Disability Insurance and I was wondering how the hell I would get us through this incredibly difficult journey.
Then it came to me. I took the last $400 out of my savings and decided to go clipless (actually meaning bike pedals with clips for those of you non-bikers). I searched Craigslist and finally bought a new old Trek “road bike.” Something I always wanted to do but was too scared to try. Not like me to be scared. But a lot had changed.
As of today, I’ve been a member of the Cape Cod Cycling Club for one whole month. It really is beautiful here. And some of the roads are pretty decent. Sure wish I could find that gold charm. Just to know I really did hold onto it for this long. Or, throw it into the ocean and make a wish. Either way, bicycling is saving my life.
I would definitely throw it in the ocean… and make a wish.
PS from Fatty: Don’t forget, the contest to win a trip and a bike, all while fighting cancer, is still on. Click here for info on the trip, then click here for information on the bikes, and click here to donate. Thanks!