If I sit and think about various aspects of my life, many things in it are somewhat ritual based. Certain things done during the day or evening are completed with intention and purpose. I think one of my most precious rituals is my bike ride home after work. Usually the building is quiet and after everything is checked over and shut off, I clock out and start getting dressed for the night ride home. It can be layering up when the weather is cold or simply strapping my bag down and putting my helmet on. It marks the end of the day when my helmet strap is clipped.
As I leave the Co-Op I push against the heavy door; It’s a familiar weight that I’ve shoved against for almost 6 years. That door is the beginning and end of my typical workday. When I first started working at the Co-Op I would head to my car and start my 25 minute commute home. I can’t express how happy I am to not drive such a distance in the dark anymore; my commute home is about 2 minutes now.
I walk to my bike and unlock it, shoving the lock into my bag and strapping it down further; bike lights on I move my bike around to the direction I plan to go. The night air fills my nostrils and I feel refreshed. There is something exhilarating about that first pedal or two of the bike that really gives you a sense of completion and freedom. Coasting also makes me feel kind of like a superhero sometimes. Not sure why.
I ride through the back parking lot of some of the Water Street businesses, you can sometimes catch smells of yummy foods being made at T-Bock’s or smell pizza from Mabes. As I ride it becomes a race with my shadow. I watch as my shadow stretches across a great area of the parking lot and eventually “runs away” from me completely. Usually I catch up when I hit the stop sign and my shadow and I head home together. I get a bit whimsical about it and I guess think about it in a strange Peter Pan sort of way.
I wait at the stoplight, usually for a few moments before it turns green. Sometimes I’m lucky and I hit the stoplight when it is on green and just haul through it as fast as I can. It’s a slight downhill and I enjoy coasting it at a faster speed. I wonder at times what the cigarette smokers outside Corner Bar think, especially when they see me during the winter months.
When I make it home, my ritual ride is done. The door is either unlocked due to Travis being home or I fumble with my keys momentarily to let myself in. Prop the door and haul my bike in and up the couple steps before I park her for the evening. There is something so satisfying with my evening ride home; it blows away some of the stress of the day and reinvigorates me with a taste of freedom.