I could never understand why my dad would want to throw himself onto some sort of two-wheeled metal frame and ride around in the woods for hours. He’d come home with bloody scrapes and would wake up the next morning with bruises the color of big juicy grapes…yet there would always be a smile on his face. I’d had my fair share of mountain biking; a couple instances in Marsh Creek, during which I was praying to stay alive, white-knuckled, as my bike crashed down the paths covered in very sharp, very solid, unforgiving rocks.
Part of me understands where this source of madness comes from; I’m a Cross Country runner, so I too understand the rush, and later the satisfaction, of completely destroying your body in a good workout. Even though I bump my head on one of Dad’s bikes each time I walk through the garage, I know this is something that makes him happy (and smelling like he’d camped out in a high school locker room for a week) when he comes home from a long ride. He disappears for hours until I find him outside, covered in grease, with what seems like hundreds of bike parts scattered on the ground. Because apparently it’s normal to just go outside and rebuild a bike.
But I have picked up some useful trivia. I have been well educated in the ways of Dime stack welds, 21-tooth cogs, and front and rear suspension forks. See how many other seventeen-year-old girls know that. I know how to fix a chain that’s fallen off and patch up a popped tire. All of which Dad talks about with the same amount of excitement that someone would have after winning the lottery. But I’ve got to give him credit; he’s found something that he loves, and he’s made time to do it, which is a lesson that he’s instilled in me. So although my bike will continue to gather dust up in the shed, (I haven’t been granted Garage Status with Dad’s bikes yet) I’ve learned a lot from his mountain biking adventures. Looks like there’s hope for me after all.
“You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.”
– Ruth E. Renkl