THE TAO OF BIKING
9 April 2002
As we started our bike ride here in Davis on Friday, Olivia and I were checking out new
territory. I was marveling in this greenbelt that I had never explored in 29 years of
living just blocks from where it began.
We pedaled past a house with a smiley face flag hanging from a pole in the back yard,
fluttering lazily in the breeze.
We went through a wooded patch and the smell of the flowers hit me, a feast for the
nostrils. I pedaled on, smiling at the unexpected whiff of the heavy perfume of blossoms
on a warm spring day.
The trees arched overhead and the lawns stretched out, a lush green. I took quick
sideways glances at the scenery, while struggling to maintain my balance and to keep the
bike going in a straightforward direction.
We reached a stretch of path where yellow roses grew thickly on bushes and
hung from the limbs of trees. They were in full bloom and the bushes were the color of
"Photo op!" Olivia called out. We stopped our bikes and took out our cameras.
With forward motion halted, I took the time to look around me at this glorious spring
day. The air was warm and still and not even the droning of insects could be heard.
We took close up photos of the lovely clumps of blossoms and of the roses which had
climbed up the moss-covered tree trunk and were hanging from its uper branches. Time stood
still and we were lost, for a moment, in the beauty of this floral glade.
The incident is a good example of my world in microcosm. Throughout my life, I have
focused on the distant goal and worried so much about the possible pitfalls at the end of
the trail that I often forgot to take the time to enjoy the journey itself, and the revel
in the place where I find myself in the moment.
I'm learning about taking to the back roads by bike and discovering how to
appreciate the little things--the song of the birds, the smell of the flowers, the antics
of ducks waddling across a lawn to reach a pond, or a couple of dogs chasing frisbees
around the park.
It is so easy to spend a lot of energy worrying about things which may never happen. Or
which may, in time. You can "what if" yourself into oblivion. If the
focus is on next year, or six years from now, you lose the beauty of this one moment which
will never come again.
I can go whizzing through a rose-filled glade and notice, in passing, that it was kinda
pretty, while I'm thinking about what to fix for lunch when the ride is over. Or I can
stop the bike, get off, look around, drink in the sight and the smell and appreciate it to
Lunch will still be there, when the time is right, at the end of the ride, no matter
what. But I will have had a much more enjoyable experience and have been more enriched if
I take the time to savor all the stopping spots en route.