Back on My Bike Again

I’m not too proud to admit that I made quite a few mistakes last Thursday.  I was biking between the shops around 1 in the afternoon.  The skies started getting dark and a few rain drops fell.  I was almost at the turnoff for Parkdale (I was headed to Flock), so I soldiered along.  I’m not a stranger to showing up at my destination a little soggy, a few raindrops, a bunch, whatever.  I can handle it.

And then, it came out of nowhere – the next thing I knew I was being pummeled on all sides by rain that felt like golf balls, pounding me so hard that I felt like I was being attacked.  I tried to make it the last 80 feet or so to shelter (there was a bridge nearby), but my bike just wouldn’t move.  I got off, tried to walk it, but it still wouldn’t move, the wind keeping it firmly lodged in place.  The rain was hitting my eyes so hard that I had to keep them closed as my white knuckles clung to my bike handles.

Why I didn’t dump the bike, I’m not sure.  It might have had something to do with me promising my 3 year old that we would go biking after daycare.  As the sudden storm continued, the wind was so strong that it was slowly inching me closer and closer to the Ottawa river, and I was starting to panic. The thought briefly entered my mind that there was a chance I may not be going biking after daycare…or ever.  I was stuck crouching, holding tight to my bike, trying to get some kind of reprieve, some kind of shelter from the onslaught.  The Ottawa river was on 3 sides of me and the waves were huge.  I started crying.

After ten minutes that felt like 10 hours, there was a break in the gusting. I grabbed my bike, rain pounding my face, crying but still in some kind of weird shock. I made it to Parkdale and got under the underpass where some kind strangers ran over to me.  They gave me a tshirt to wipe my face on and encouraged me to stay there but all I wanted to do was be off my bike and somewhere safe.

Eight eternal blocks later I made it to Flock.  I am not ashamed to admit that I had a complete meltdown in the doorway.  I’m pretty sure I totally freaked out our staff.  They looked at my red skin (which the following day turned into a dizzying rainbow of bruises), got me a new dress (handy that I own a dress shop) and made me a cup of tea.  I had a friend pick me up and 30 minutes later it was like nothing happened.  The birds were chirping and the sun was out.

I guess I lived through my perfect storm last Thursday and want to spend every minute from this moment forward living and loving my life.

Today, I got back on my bike again.  And as I biked down Gladstone, I saw the most amazing flowers I have ever seen.  I have no idea what they are, but they are huge – the size of a small pizza.  As I stopped to take a picture of them, I remembered why I love riding my bike and how much of the city and of nature I would miss if I didn’t.   Tonight I will pick up my daughter and we will go biking.