I fractured my elbow several months ago in a cycling crash. The physical healing completed, but the enthusiasm for cycling subsided. Yesterday, the air was clean, fresh and cool on an overcast summer day. I dug out the old route maps I collected from riding with the Irvine Bicycle Club. I was looking for a short route to reintroduce myself to the idea of riding. I wanted to ride alone, at my own pace, in my own thoughts. I finally found a 15 mile route. I did my standard checklist: sunscreen, water, helmet, gloves, shoes, spare tires, pump, air pressure, identification, cash, sunglasses, shorts and jersey--the routine itself was like a priest preparing for Mass--a ritual of necessary items.
Finally, I was on the road, and for the next 3 hours, I just was in the process of cycling. For me, part of cycling is simply the level of attention needed to stay reasonably safe--basic matters like not tumbling over in front of vehicle, and anticipating a car that is emerging from an intersection or driveway. In the end, I felt like an old warrior who had returned to the battlefield. Others may see cycling in more rhapsodic terms of exuberance and pleasure. I view it as an objective: miles covered, problems overcome, and injuries avoided. They say that golf reveals a man's character. It is disturbing to think cycling may reveal mine.