It was a major purchase for newlyweds, but we justified it as a second car since I’d be staying home with baby Benjamin. In those days, I was a semi-serious cyclist racing hillclimbs and centuries with a team and wearing a logo-strewn jersey. With clipless pedals, curved racing handle bars, a slim seat and the graceful frame painted in glorious Italian Celeste Green it was a thing of beauty. From the time Ben was six weeks old I bundled him up in the bike trailer for trips to the grocery store, the park, Brackman’s Bagels.
Once I pulled the trailer fifty miles around Bear Lake and in an adventure that makes me wonder -“What were we thinking?”- Erik and I rode from Salt Lake to Midway with poor little Ben cooped up in the trailer.
Still, I rode my gorgeous green Bianchi, made friends and drank in the glory of Utah’s steep canyons. But in the last few years my aging body and the heavy steel frame (as opposed to today’s carbon fiber lightweights) made it difficult to keep up with my cycling buddies. “You need a new bike.” was their constant refrain.
I resisted, it still worked and the expense of a new bike seemed silly for such an occasional cyclist. Besides, Ben had fallen in love with it and often rode it up the canyon near our home. But last fall when I took it in for a tune-up, the mechanic shook his head, “You might get a few more miles out of it, but it not worth the parts it would take to repair it anymore.”
It lay fallow in the garage during the winter, until I stumbled across an idea this spring: an acquaintance had taken an old racing bike and turned it into a commuter– flat handle bars, 7 speeds, basic pedals, a nice wide seat– maybe, my bike too could begin a new life.
Two weeks ago I took it to my favorite bike shop where they were kind enough to admire my vintage wheels and for about $150 transformed her into the perfect bike for a college student.
It was finished just in time for Ben’s move to BYU on Wednesday.
outside Heritage Halls
I didn’t expect to tear up as the hall resident discussed visiting hours and fire safety (it was embarrassing sniffling and wiping my eyes while he demonstrated how to use an extinguisher), but I did a pretty good job of acting normal when I met his roommates.
I sat on his dorm bed and knew he would spend more nights there than he ever would again in our home. Before I completely broke down I hugged him goodbye and fled the building. As we drove north I felt my heart ripping as I left a bit in Provo. It reminded me of Elizabeth Stone’s words– “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Home today, I’ve been busy with neglected tasks but moving slowly as though wounded. I’m laughing at how much I’m crying. Part of my heart is elsewhere now; it’s the end of my era with all my little ones at home. As the birthright of an oldest child Ben has always pushed me into new vistas. I mourn the change, yet pray for bright adventures in this new life for all of us.