Life through cycling sunglasses
“I wish you could always see life through your cycling sunglasses”, my boyfriend says to me when I phone him jabbering a jumble of excited words after my first mountain biking skills lesson with Julien Louw (http://www.mtbskillsclinics.co.za/ ). Let’s face it, life just makes sense when your butt’s on a saddle, feet are cleated in, mouth is slightly salty from the sweat dripping from your brow and heart is racing even faster than you’re navigating obstacles. Those of you who’ve been there know exactly what I mean. Those of you who are still contemplating that first pedal, have an indescribable joy awaiting you.
It’s similar to that nervous joy you experience when you receive your first bicycle. Mine was when I was 5. It was pink….obviously, with white tyres and saddle and little side wheels. It was the most beautiful thing I’d seen in my 5 years of life. It was definitely love at first sight and riding it made my head spin and heart flutter. True love. And then, like many relationships, the passion frizzled out and it became a functional relationship. A way to get from A to B. A way to stay fit. A way to recover from a running injury. I even decided to go for skills lessons for a functional reason initially. To get better at technical sections. Why? To beat people of course.
What happened to just having…and I’m forced to use the F word here…Fun?
Enter, James Coetzee, of BMT Stellenbosch (http://bmtsa.co.za/). “Remember to play on your bike”, he nonchalantly said, at a skills session. When you start to see your bike as a toy, your surroundings become a massive playground. Every bump, dip and in Danny MacAskill’s case fence, becomes an opportunity to play some more. Some of us lose this inner child in adult world. Not the one with neon lights but one that perhaps you should’ve rather been warned about. At some stage we venture in and we trade in our imagination, fearlessness, playfulness for responsibility, worry, apprehension. We leave our playful child behind. The one who does backflips into swimming pools, taunts an ostrich and then runs as fast as her skinny little legs can carry them, sings ‘Hier Kom Die Bokke’ at the top of her lungs in the UK after the Springboks won the rugby world cup and dances pretty much everywhere. That little confident fun loving person gets put under an old sheet in the garage along with the pink bike and is forgotten about.
This year I’m letting her out again. The aim is to play. To have fun. To fall, laugh and then get up and try again. To let go. And to ultimately see life through lumo pink cycling sunglasses.