The only people I pass are going the other way

I think my 32-pound steel-framed bicycle,
A surly “long-haul trucker,”
With fenders and a rack and water bottle holders,
That seems to ride better the
More stuff you pile on it,
And what I wear when I bicycle,
And how I ride my bicycle,
Add up to a pretty good
Summation of my life.

I never pass any riders 
On my 20-kilometre loop.
It’s along the sea,
Up a big hill,
Around the periphery 
Of the university,
Back home adjacent to a forest.
Flying past me
Are the 16-pound carbon bikes,
Packs of riders who wear matching outfits.
They’re nice enough,
Don’t run me off the road,
Or say rude things.

I used to wonder if I just had
The right outfit…
But no,
My physical gifts get me by,
My oxygen uptake that of a large butterfly,
And I’m just not that motivated.

So I had an epiphany.
I thought at my age
I would stop epiphing. 
Maybe it’s the people on bikes 
Coming toward me,
That I always pass,
That are the ones that matter!

I can see them coming from a distance.
I have compassion for them if
They’re going uphill,
Or against the wind,
Whilst I cruise down.
And, I really can’t tell how fast 
They’re going.
Kind of like watching a plane
Cross the sky.
It doesn’t look fast,
So I have time to make up stories
About where it’s been,
Or going.
Like those folks peddling the other way.
I pass them,
Without comparison,
Without self-criticism,
Without “if only”
My bike, my jacket, or I,
Were different.

No, when you come toward me,
I see you.
I am content on my 32-pound
Steel-framed steed,
Steadily covering beautiful,
Complicated ground.
Made simpler by
One rotation of the pedals,
One breath in,
One breath out,
To enjoy what I have,
Where I am,
Where I’m going.

—Robert Gilgoff
(Retired) Registered Psychologist,
College of Psychologists of BC

This post has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.

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