I must have mentioned my sister, right? The museum designer who decided to make a big career change, and at 40 became a nurse? She was studying the last time I mentioned her. And now she’s an RN. A Real Nurse. And she’s my baby blister. And I love her.
Well, she gave me — GAVE me — a lovely old bike. A bike of a certain age. A road bike, from circa 1970. French. A French racing bike, really. And in its day, it would have been a supremely hot bike. I know this, because I’ve got a few people in my circle who raced bikes in the 1970s, and they whistle low when they see her.
I have named her Mathilde for my daughter’s saucy and determined French god-daughter.
Here’s backstory: My brothers both rode a lot when they were in high school. They competed with one another, working hard to make enough money to buy ever more precious parts and mechanisms and tools with which to constantly upgrade their road bikes. They raced. And toured. And upgraded their bikes. And when I wanted a bike, and begged my Dad for one, he delegated the job to my brothers, who built me a bike out of their spare parts.
That was Sophia, because she was Italian. God, I loved that bike. I took it to college with me and rode it everywhere for years. Where I didn’t ride it, I carried it. It was part of me.
And one night, as I pulled an all-nighter at the school’s newspaper office, the bike, and the bike rack it was locked to, was stolen. Just gone.
I was wild, pestering the police department and campus security constantly for weeks. Finally I gave up and bought some bike from a local bike shop. What I could afford. And hated it. I kept my hated bike for years, never riding it, never riding again. Finally I got rid of fit. Poor, hated bike. Didn’t even name it.
Now Mathilde, and a sister who rides. And my brothers who ride, and we’re all gearing up for a big ride in our hometown in July. I don’t expect I’m going to do the whole thing — a 100-mile ride. I expect I’m going to do a nice smaller ride within that ride. But it’s gotten me off of the couch, where I’ve been for months.
Mathilde is beautiful, and she rides and feels exactly like my old bike. Of course, she has new wheels now. And a new chain. I needed to put clipless pedals on her. And had to get new shoes. The bike pants weren’t cheap. And I’m thinking a new stem… handlebars… maybe… Shout out to the bike gods at Velo City who are respectful of my old girl.
I’m broke. But she is beautiful. I’ll post a pic when I get one. After I turn in my taxes. Which should be… oh tomorrow, I suppose, yes?
Hey here’s the thing. My thighs…. my thighs are talking to me again. They like being awake in the world. They are telling me to say hi. Hi from my thighs.
So, back to my sister. This was a thinly veiled intervention on her part, the gift of this bike. And I knew that, and she knew I knew it. And I knew she knew I knew. And while normally I would react badly to an intervention where my body is concerned, or do exactly the opposite thing? I’m going with it this time. Because I know she loves me no matter what I do with or to my body. No one else could get away with it. But no one else could have such devious genius.