I was getting some groceries last evening, in the hustle and bustle of the checkout line when the bagger gives me a very strange look. I smile, thinking perhaps my hair is a little mussed from my earlier ride and go back to attempting to pay for my groceries while wrestling with my two year old on my shoulder.
“Your shirt confuses me,” the bagger says.
“Pardon me?” I say.
“What does it mean?”
I was wearing my “Define your life” t-shirt, and it got me wondering. Just what does “Define your life. Ride a bike.” really mean?
For me it's a motto, a way of life, of saying "leave the death box out of it for me, I'm going riding." It's the cold wind on your face when the leaves are dropping, the warm wind on your face and the sweat pouring down in the summer after climbing a big steep hill.
The laughter and joy of my 9-year-old's face after we've ridden 13 miles on the night ride. The sweaty and beautiful face of my wife after she's done the longest ride of her life and just vomited her guts out. My two-year-old daughter screaming from the Burley behind me “Go faster!” “Go faster!”, the beaming expression of my mom after she's learned how to stop her Townie without falling off, my Dad getting to bike the Towpath with almost all of his kids and a number of grandkids, the unforgiving commuters yelling at me to “Get off the road!”
It's the looks of surprise from the car next to me when I stop at the light in the middle of a 40 degree rain waiting for the light to change, and the freedom to get on my bike and leave the troubles of the world behind me, at least for a little while. I suppose it means all of those things and more. It means get on your bike and ride, ride like the world can't catch you, or ride to enjoy the world around you.
All of these are my definition. What's yours?