Memory Tapes – Bicycle

I had a very bicycle-themed Christmas this year, which is a little strange since none of the people who gave me these bicycle items know that this fall I tried to resurrect my old red bike and get back into riding shape. It’s a pretty easy bet that I would like any bicycle related thing though, so I was happy and appreciative.

I got little metal bicycle earrings, a set of four small juice glasses with different bikes on them, a book, and a 500-piece puzzle with pictures of a dozen or so bicycles. It sort of feels like a sign. I guess I might just have to try a spin class.

I think I would really like spinning IF I could bring my own music and not have someone shout at me when I should pedal faster, or whatever it is they do that makes this a group activity. There’s that too. I would prefer to be by myself. Just me, the open road, the tunes in my ears. When I lived in DC, I often rode my bike to work. We had this intern from Germany at our office who was about my age and he’d bought a bike too. People thought we would make a cute couple, and we were good friends, but as he once said to someone who suggested it, “we can barely cycle together.”

I have never liked exercising but bike riding was never about the physical fitness aspect, it was always a much more elusive feeling that I’m not sure I can explain. It’s sort of being at one with the bike. You and this two-wheeled metal frame, rocketing through the landscape, it’s damn near close to flying. You have those slow sloggy moments too when you notice the little details of your surroundings while trying not to look too pathetic as a runner passes you on the uphill. That has only happened to me once but I remember it vividly and I’m pretty sure I could call upon that memory in a darkened spin room when I need a little motivation.

A good playlist is always essential. In college I made a tape synced for my bike route so I had just the right sort of beat and inspiration on different spots along the way. I have recreated it as best I could for my iPod, and it’s not bad, but it was made for that specific 17-mile stretch and it doesn’t work as well on my current streets. This song might be a good biking song. It has a certain lost-in-the-moment feeling to it. The fact that it echoes New Order at the 3:38 mark is ok, I love New Order. I can almost see the green leaves whizzing by now. I just have to wait a good five months for that to be a reality. If I hit the gym this winter, maybe I’ll actually be able to pull it off.


  1. I so miss riding my bike! Where we live now it’s all gravel and dirt roads, not at all suited for my city bike. I’ve been thinking about trying a mountain bike, but I’m too unsure about it just to go out and buy one! I am, however, sure about that song – it’s getting added to my C25k playlist!


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