the park

20140104-163311.jpgIn recent weeks, given an afternoon and countless options in one of the worlds most beautiful cities and the freedom of two wheels, odds are you will find me in the park. Somehow the responsibilities of my life blur and the only landscape in focus is that of my handlebars steering me through the trees over rutted paths up and down the trails of dirt.
It is then by no surprise I find myself here again. I’ve been on this path before, but it’s somehow new. I’ve taken that line, and I’ve lost my wheel in this corner, but the light radiates through the grove differently than it did before and I feel a sense of accordance in my presence, as though I fit here. Not belong, just fit, because lord knows I belong on flat surfaces. But here it is, the park, a glimpse of nature in a mess of concrete, with a little rut for me to fit myself and my bike. It draws me, I respond, again and again, blissfully stuck in this rut.20140104-163256.jpgEach visit is familiar and unique, taking the common paths that lead to the less trodden. An accidental turn that strays away from what I know but reveals a more pleasant experience. Choosing a left line, and realizing the right was a lucky first guess I should have stuck with. It’s a strange coexistence of right and wrong, a connective root between the two on which my tires roll over.
Most of what I know about controlling my bike and what I have learned about becoming a part of the bike-human system was taught to me by the park. It had been years since I rode two wheels on anything but solid asphalt before I discovered the trails of the park this year. Within the cement wonderland of the city existed this mini-paradise where novice dirt riders could go to hone their skills up to a point where they could go out and act like the big boys (most often failing in the act, but keeping up enough to have some fun). I had my fair share of quality time with the ground in late summer, it took my a while to learn how to use a brake properly. Bloody body parts became a little too common, and returning rented bikes with their own scrapes and bruises was becoming harder to get away with. The only option was getting better, and so I tried.
Days and weeks in the park, learning the trails, soaking up the adventure and getting better each time. It’s become a good friend of mine, I’m happy to spend time with it when I can. I’ll be back soon.

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