As Spring begins to challenge Winter here in Szeged I find myself longing for a bike. Technically I do have a bike but it isn’t good for much more than the school run popping to the shops; it’s not a real bike like the one I used to have.
Once upon a time I was a cyclist. It was part of my identity. Cycling was more than just my way of getting about. It was who I was. But we gave our bikes away when we moved to Finland and we have never been able to afford to replace them.
Cycling was my main form of exercise, recreation and being outside. Oh, I miss being outside. We used to have a cupboard in our kitchen stocked with eco-fuel for the camping stove and ingredients for tasty camping dishes so that we were ready for a weekend cycle trip any weekend the sun was out. We would just load up our bikes and go, we’d be outside until we got home on Sunday evening. We haven’t figured out how to go camping without our bikes yet and it has been nearly 4 years since we gave them up. We don’t have a car; we don’t do driving (yet) which leaves public transport and foot as the transportation options but these options don’t get you to the quiet little campsites off the beaten track in the utterly stunning locations that you can reach with a bike.
Without bikes our weekends tend to become about tidying up, shopping, laundry...We do have some fun, we go to the park, for a walk or do baking or make something extra special for dinner but it doesn’t give me the same soaring lift I get from riding my bike through the countryside and sleeping under the stars.
I was just commenting to Gabor just last night that I like our way of living where we keep our debt much lower than the average young family buy simply not buying stuff (no house, no car, no furniture, no TV) but maybe bikes are something that would be worth accumulating some debt over. That little bit of debt could reclaim my identity, give me back my freedom, my weekends, my adventures.
Then again maybe it is the start of a slippery slope.