This time of year, I miss riding my bike to work in the mornings. At the time, I probably would not have said it was my favorite thing or even a “fun” thing — the ride home was all uphill and it was often hot. But now that I can look back on it with the haze of time, I realize that my morning ride was maybe the best part of my day. The air would be humid as I coasted down the hill from my neighborhood. It would smell like trucks and exhaust and the highway … but in a good way. The way I remember more interesting parts of the world smell. I would keep my eyes on the traffic, hoping I would make it through another eleven mile ride without getting run over (I was always lucky). Yes, I would get to the office a little sweaty, but I always felt refreshed by my contact with the world.
These days, I get to enjoy a different part of the day, the mid-morning hours when hardly anyone is home or outside, when the lines at the post office and the grocery store are short, when the coffeeshops are full. There is a flavor to that part of the day that brings me back to sick days and going to school late because of an appointment, the feeling that you are witnessing the world almost alone. But it’s not the same as the bike mornings. Lately, those memories have me itching to get out for an early ride.