I don't think I've liked any of my material possessions better than my bicycles. Whether it was riding around with my pals on Bartlett Street where I grew up, peddling to class in college, the daily four-mile ride into town for the newspaper when we were on vacation on Cape Cod with our children, or the many bike vacations we've taken over the past 23 years. I've had one-speeds, three-speeds, ten-speeds and twenty-one speeds. I've had fat tires, thin tires (and plenty of flat tires), but I have always loved being on my bicycle.
Two of my best memories of cycling are completing a four-mile uphill road to the top of Mt Constitution in the San Juan Islands off the coast of the State of Washington in 1993 and another really tough climb out of Rocamadour in the Dordogne Valley in France in 1989. Actually, they're not just biking best memories, they are just plain best memories. To this day, I pedal to work any day that it's above 30 degrees and not pouring.
Many of those cycling vacations were with our close friends Gordon and Christa. In the beginning we went with groups. Then we figured out we could save a bunch of money by reading the brochures of expensive biking tours and imitating their trips. We biked in at least a dozen countries over the years, and in some several times. It's true we don't do 50 miles a day any more, but we easily do 35 or so. And it's true that although we're slower than we used to be, we're not ready to quit yet.
Gordon and Christa have been waiting for me to retire so we could go to Holland during tulip season. This year, they gave up on us, and on Sunday they went off to Holland without us. I have thought of them every day this week, wishing that we were there too.
The choice to remain working has been the right one for me. But on days when I know my good friends are biking through tulip fields, I feel a little regretful.
I'll get over it.