The introspective humdrum life of an eccentric hexagenarian.

Visit my other blogs: "Elderberry Bike Rides of Delaware
," organized bicycle rides for families, senior citizens, and anyone interested in getting back into biking; and "Cloister Voices," the collected thoughts of modern and ancient hermits, eccentrics, solitaires, wanderers, mystics, and others who inhabit the monastery within.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


The View from Pardes has turned on a dime, or more precisely it has turned on a 700x32 bicycle tire.

Such moments have a way of sneaking up on you. One minute you are a comatose driver of a car stuck in an interstate gridlock and the next moment, you are discovering that change is as easy as it is sneaky. You never forget how to navigate change…. It’s easy, it’s like riding a bike.

Last year when I turned 62, I realized that I no longer noticed the seasons change and that I was working the majority of my waking hours, passing out in front of the TV, and repeating this day after day.

I attempted to remedy this with mixed results and none of them permanent.

One of my brainstorm solutions was to take the bus to work. This would stick my tongue out at the escalating gasoline prices and it would force me to get some exercise by walking 0.4 miles to the bus stop twice a day.

This was a great plan. I actually started becoming aware of my surroundings again. The weather, the nosey or catatonic or secluded neighbors, and the time on the bus allowed me to read, nap, or fraternize with the myriad of people who ride the bus.

The only snag was the severe spinal and hip arthritis that made even a 0.4 mile walk completely impossible without taking pounds of pain killers.

“I know what to do,” I thought one day as I limped home in pain. “I’LL GET A BIKE AND RIDE TO THE BUS STOP.” The irony is that even if you can’t walk ten steps without severe pain you CAN ride a bicycle for miles and miles with a smile on your face.

Who would have thought that such a utilitarian idea would blossom into an obsessive hobby as that which a bicycle brings into your life.

Such things as gear inches, saddle fit, land topography, the time of sunrise and sunset, and the weather channel became uppermost in my mind.

I splurged and bought a hybrid bike, my beloved Trek 7.6 FX, which would be light enough to lift unto the bus bicycle rack and a bike that had the required granny gears to keep me moving on what were to me the Mt. Everest hills of Delaware.

Within a month I’d lost 25 pounds, significantly lowered my blood pressure, and acquired a sense of contentment that I haven’t felt since that first time I learned to balance a bike and ride with the wind.

More and more Baby Boomers are taking up their bicycles and leaving their pains and worries and distractions behind them and rediscovering their generational pledge to change the world beginning with themselves.

At 30, I resigned from a successful career that had me on the fast track in the chemical industry. I felt like Peggy Lee singing “Is That All There Is,” as I turned in my letter of resignation with the quote from Charles Dubois, “The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

I never regretted that decisive change or the others following it. Indeed, once again, I revel in becoming myself once again but this time from the seat of a bicycle.

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