An Ode to Bicycles
Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. -H.G. Wells
I've had an emotional week. My family arrived, after a long time of being away from San Sebastián. We've had weather that makes you want to cry with joy (after destructive waves wracked the city). And....my bike died.
My beautiful Biondi, a vintage racing bike, a bike that fit me perfectly and drew admiring stares from everyone, is dead. I was rocketing down a hill, braked, and felt a very wrong series of catching. I had just enough time to think 'Oh, shit' before I flew over the handlebars. The only human in sight, an elderly Basque man, approached me with sympathy, asking if I needed help. That sympathy lasted all of five seconds before he began to criticize my choice of attire, route, and my load, and then began to surmise the cause of the accident. As blood dripped down my palms and shoulder. But that's fine....the people of San Sebastián have a very special relationship with cyclists. Ostia.
I walked slash limped home. Upon closer inspection, the frame was cracked in two and her beautiful seat torn by the asphalt. I took her to our amazing local bike shop, Miner, only to have my suspicions confirmed. She was a goner.
How do you get over the passing of an irreplaceable bike? She was a member of the family...heck, I spent more time with my bicycle than most of my family members. So many memories: climbing the sunny hills of Goierri, taking a midday break to leave San Sebastián behind by way of Igara, midnight 'strolls' down the three beaches. Albert Einstein has said he thought up the theory of relativity on his bike. I may not have come up with anything quite as brilliant on my Biondi, but I sure did love her.
Sorry to get so sentimental. I leave you with a quote that is so incredibly perfect when it comes to bikes in Basque Country:
"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them.... Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." -Ernest Hemingway