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When I was a cyclist


I was driving home after dropping a friend off tonight, after we spent the evening catching up and socialising together. It was about 10pm. There was a cyclist riding towards me on my side of the road with a bright light on his helmet. My first thought was that it was pretty damn annoying that he was riding towards me on my side of the ride when he should have been on the other side, and with a bloody bright light glaring me in the eyes as well. Inconsiderate bastard! Lots of cyclists these days seem to be inconsiderate on the road, but that’s another story.

As I kept driving on, I remembered back to when I used to be a cyclist. A very long time ago. Thirty years now, back when I was 18. Wow. But I digress…

I used to have a bright light on my handle bars, pointed at the ground as I rode around at night. Seeing the cyclist’s helmet light tonight brought back memories of when I used to ride too.

I used to ride all day, and all night. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but I used to ride a lot. I’d probably do about 50km a day, most days. It was because I hated being at home, growing up with a dysfunctional and abusive family life. I had to get away.

When I was a cyclist, I felt free. Getting on my bike and getting out on the roads was an escape for me.

But in my early 20’s I had to give it up. It came up on me very gradually, but then became quite noticeable and painful. When I pressed down on the pedals I’d get a shooting pain in the back of each knee. After 6 years of riding, my knees no longer enjoyed it.

I made sure my bike was suitably adjusted for my height, but it mostly already was, and there was no change in the pain in my knees. A doctor told me that he didn’t know why I had pains in the back of my knees, but he could do exploratory surgery to find out. I figured it was just easier to stop riding.

The last time I rode a bike was in 1990. Well, sort of. I did ride a bike again back in 2005 for about half an hour, but got the shooting pains again. Something that I just don’t get from normal life. Only when riding. So I don’t think that’s going to happen ever again.

These days I feel free when driving a car. That’s good enough.

It’s amazing the memories that can come back when you see someone doing something that you once did yourself, many years ago.

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