On the Bike

Cycling is a long story for me … pretty much the ecstasy and the agony. I remember the wind in my hair, the flowing on the level, the grunts on the ups and the “Whee!” on the downs.

If you were with me in 2018, you heard about another down: I started the Tour du Canada – a cross-country bicycle ride. I lasted four days. I fell three times, I was terrified of the trucks passing three metres to my left, I went deep into a Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD). And the fear is still with me.

I had my bike shipped across the ocean. Today Betty stands in my bedroom, far above any road. “What were you thinking, Bruce, bringing your bike to Ghent? You’ll never ride Betty again.” So negative.

I now live in a cycling city. Witness this lot near the Gent Sint-Pieters train station:

If all these people get on their bikes, why not me? I’ve overcome many things in my life. Why call this one insurmountable?

Which brings me to today. I’m visiting my friend Lydia and her family near Ronse, Belgium. Lydia is off seeing a friend today. I wanted to sit in a pub and she recommended De Harmonie in the main square of Ronse. So I walked.

And here I am. I ambled up to the bar and sat down. The couple next to me and the bartender welcomed … in English. Above me was a TV screen, happily showing live the first cycling race of the season: the Omloop het Niewsblad – 207.3 kilometres. As I started enjoying an Orval beer and a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, the riders had 50 k to go.

O my God … I was back in my Canadian living room of long ago, enjoying the European cycling classics: Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour of Flanders.

Behind me and around me were cheering Belgian beer drinkers. And when I looked up the race on Google, I found that Omloop finishes in Ninove – a town 36 k from De Harmonie!. I can go see these races, not just stare at the screen. Ohhh …

Here I am returning to the cello, to the keyboard, to the guitar, to batik.

Why not cycling?

4 thoughts on “On the Bike

  1. Again so impressive! my gosh that photo of the bike parking lot! wow! Betty and you will ride again no question. There would be no pressure, it would be a transportation ride versus the hell on the highway of days past 🙂 good for you for shipping Betty!

  2. Would you do it if everything was easy? makes the reward sweeter when it is this kind of good! be proud of your achievement for sure or as I have been saying, Clapping for my own damn self 🙂 a quote I read a couple of years ago that totally resonates with me as I try to grow and learn in this crazy world!

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