Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Honk If You Love Riding Bicycles

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Honk If You Love Riding Bicycles

Article excerpt

There's nothing like living in another country to hone your ability to adapt. Since I've been in Spain, I can say with certainty that my tastes, inclinations, and habits have shifted - some with greater ease than others.

Sometimes I'm tempted to feel as though I'm being overhauled like a car. I keep asking if I have to change everything.

For example, I've become pleasantly accustomed to eating a big meal between 2 and 3 p.m., which always includes fresh bread and sweet fruit that melts in your mouth. I've adjusted quite easily to many businesses and shops being closed between 2 and 5 o'clock, which carves out time to reflect or even take a nap. And I've reluctantly accepted that gas stations don't sell fountain drinks with all the ice I want.

But for me, bicycle riding is a must, thank you, and that's not going to change.

You might ask why it should. Where we live in Spain, motorbikes are very popular - mostly with young people - while bike riding isn't. From my observation, the majority of bicycle riders are boys and professional riders.

I've come to the conclusion that it must not be cool for women to ride a bike for I've yet to see a woman out on a bike. Could they be riding their mountain bikes in the mountains? For the most part, I don't think so. But women must be riding at least some of those bikes that I see lined up in bike stores.

As much as I have jumped right in and enjoyed adjusting to the Spanish culture, riding my bike is important to me. It has become my metaphor for a deep, inner constancy and joy that remains in the midst of change. For me, it is a symbol of universal freedom and the pure simplicity of enjoying who you are, where you are, and what you are doing.

To me, bike riding is a reminder of the natural activity of moving with the rhythm of life regardless of the culture you live in.

When I'm riding my bike, I'm always reminded of a two-tone pink and white Ford convertible that my family had in the late 1950s. …

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