by Nancy Csuti
It started for me before Amsterdam, but it was there I began to see the possibilities.
For months now I have been unsettled, knowing that changes were in my future but unsure what they might be…perhaps scared to open my eyes to them. I walk the dogs up Colorado trails grateful for the beauty that surrounds us. Yet the walks are infrequent and never, not ever, long enough. Work calls. Always work. My muscles have weakened as the years have gone by. Joints let me know they have been moving for almost six decades, never letting me forget they are there. Maybe I need a new job, I think. Maybe a new house. Maybe even a new city. My thoughts, swirling like the notes of a sweet guitar, accompany me on the plane to Amsterdam.
Jet lagged, pulling a stuffed suitcase through the streets, I search for the house. Up and down narrow streets, each canal looking alike, I go in circles. Wasn’t this the same black bike I saw 5 minutes ago? No, this is the one… I saw that black bike, I know I did.. I recognize the bent metal basket and rusty lock. But wait… I know I have not been on this street yet and somehow here is that bike. They are everywhere. Leaning on every post, on every bench, in front of every house and store and restaurant. On every corner. Waiting at every stop light, moving through every intersection. All around me are bikes. And the riders! Young and old, fat and thin, in high heels and coats and ties, jeans and scarfs, talking or texting as they ride… some with coffee cups in hand, others eating their lunch as they peddle along...some with children on the handle bars or sitting on the back fender…some peddling along, an iPad or paperback propped open on the handle bars. Then the revelation comes to me like a flash of light – this isn’t about fitness or health, this is about going somewhere!
I return to Denver thinking only of that…they are going somewhere… as now would I. A warm Sunday afternoon and a trip across town to Yawp Cyclery and within 15 minutes I am on a bike. It has been 20 years since I peddled a bike in the USA. Can I start to do this at my age? Then I see them in my mind…young and old, fat and thin….going somewhere… I sit straighter, look around me, and peddle away.
Every day now there is a happy hour. The hour when I am on the bike, going to the library…the store…to work. I am not in black shorts or a lycra shirt. I do not wear special shoes or fancy gloves. I do not check my pulse or count the miles. I sit up straight…stronger each and every day…I discover things I never knew existed…and always… finally, I am going somewhere.