♦♦people joy riding take 15 minutes to get to that place, or an hour and a half; maybe it's 5 miles, or 95. But as muscle memory takes over, it doesn't matter whether I hap pen to be feeling strong and full of energy or tired and creaky; that space opens, every time.
For some people, this space is where they solve problems, get creative inspiration, or let go of hurts. For me, this space makes room for gratitude: for my legs, strong enough to pedal; for my fellow cyclists, who come up behind me with an encouraging word or make room for me to pass; for the weather, no matter what it is; for all of the things I wouldn't have noticed by car— the spiky leaves and purple blossoms of artichoke plants, surfers zipping into their wctsuits, tiny lettuce seedlings, the warm, moist fragrance of strawberries.
I ride for the same reason I practice yoga—because when that space opens, I know this is who I really am. It's a lot like when you leave your sunglasses on indoors for a while without realizing it. When you finally take them off, there's that simultaneous flood of light and recognition, and you think, "Oh that's right, of course— this is what things really look like!"
By mile 75 it has started to drizzle, and my stomach is growling. My knees are stiff, my knuckles feel frozen to the handlebars, and I think I might have taken a wrong turn a few miles back. But no one of these sensations or thoughts dominates. There's room for everything, and more besides. CHARITY FERREiR A
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