Ode to a Bike

You don't always completely appreciate a good bike until some miscreant steals it out of a hospital staff parking lot in broad day light.

Recently, on my drives to work I've had some time to reflect on my bike (a gold colored 2004 Kona "Jake the Snake" serial number: F006K0007 in case anyone in the Tucson area spots it) and the adventures we've had over the past 12 years. My bike has taken me along the Erie Canal and on errands throughout Chicago. I rode it to class on my college campus in the frigid New York North County and, more recently, it brought me to work in the Tucson heat. Together we raised money to end Multiple Sclerosis and competed in a triathlon. Jake even helped me escort Tovah out of town on the first leg of her Chicago-to-Atlantic bike tour. Jake has preformed beautifully and he will be missed. 

Now, I would call myself more of a bike enthusiast than evangelist. While I was thoroughly enjoying driving a paddle shift red Chevy Camaro convertible (a rental, I assure you nursing doesn't pay that well) down Rt. 1 through Big Sur, I know that Tovah was beside me daydreaming about riding her bike along the same stretch of road. While I am skiing down a windy slope with my brother, I know he is scouting out the best path to ride his fat bike down. And sure I have never appeared on a billboard with my bike.

 Shout out to my best friend joe for making his bike proud

Shout out to my best friend joe for making his bike proud

I may not be the cyclist that some of my relatives and friends are but I do appreciate how a good bike can motivate you to stay active. just like my dog Odin has, Jake motivated me to rethink that drive to the store and inspired me to get outside on the weekend. I peddled and didn't Uber to friends houses and on errands around Chicago. 

 Escorting tovah on the last leg of her chicago-atlantic bike trip

Escorting tovah on the last leg of her chicago-atlantic bike trip

A good bike is not entirely unlike a good dog. Both Jake and Odin (that's the dog) have always been up for an adventure and have stuck by my side through thick and thin. Sure there might be some setbacks along the way (That broken spoke in the middle of no where (Jake) or that time the recyclables were redistributed throughout the apartment after a long day at home alone(Odin)) but the joy far outweighs the pain.  Both Odin and Jake have been loyal companions and have inspired me to stay active.

Aside: a little while back I had a patient who was out for a ride on her horse. Other than her dog, she was alone. The horse threw her and she got a major concussion (I mean, I spent hours with this patient telling her over and over again what happened to her and I doubt she has any memory of me). What happened? Well the horse decided to treat her like a baseball bat doughnut and trotted home for dinner feeling ever so light.  Long after the horse was safe in the stable, the dog was found lying be her side and had to be restrained from getting into the ambulance. Anyone ever hear of a bike leaving a thrown riders side?

Dogs and bikes also share a common and unfairly labeled infamy on trails and paths. Why is it that horses are welcome on any old trail, but dogs and bikes are barred? My dog does not leave leave Schiaparelli Crater sized, ankle twisting hoof prints in the mud and my bike has never left a chihuahua sized dropping in the middle of the trail. Where are the "clean up after your horse" signs? The courteous handle of a dog and a bike should be welcome on any trail.

 #coexist

#coexist

Aside 2: when I was younger I had some infatuation of unknown etiology with horseback riding. I  even went so far as to take a trip to a dude ranch in Texas, so don't get me wrong I have nothing against horses just the illogical discrimination between horses, bikes, and dogs.

Lastly to the new owner of Jake there are many things I'd love to say to you, but considering my mother, nephews, and future employers might be reading this, all I have to say is---I wish you many years of happiness with Jake.  hope that he treats you well, and that someday you too have to reflect on him when someone returns the favor.