Thursday, February 16, 2012

Friday writings for Randos - For one boundless summer

{Friday Writings for Randos - A weekly post that features pieces from other writers that touch some facet of the Randonneuring experience, even if that was not the author's intent. It's stuff that's best read out loud - slowly.} This week it's:.....

An excerpt from "Off the Map - Bicycling across Siberia" 
By Mark Jenkins
Then one day I went beyond our backyard. Beyond all that I knew down the sidewalk past where we would turn to give old Mr. Schicksal a casserole. I had been planning it in bed or maybe dreaming it. I knew I wasn't supposed to but I just had to see. I went fast in a blur, my great little rabbit heart rejoicing in my throat. I was liquid, hurling my red bike. I didn't know how I could go so fast. I didn't know how I could go so far so fast. I saw giant foreign houses and giant foreign fences all so near I could have touched them. I smelled new things and heard strange dogs. I saw foreign kids and foreign moms all up close as if they could have lived where I lived. I went to the edge of the earth. To where looking back I could just make out the trees in our front yard. Then I almost ran into a car. I stomped backward on the pedals and squealed and skidded.
Panting, scared, I wheeled around and rode back home crazy with glory and triumph. That is when I understood. 
 . . .
I felt sorry for kids who had to ride in their dad's car and couldn't squish dog shit and smell it on their wheels. Or feel speed and howling in their ears. Or hear the tiny sound the grass made. Or fall going fast and in mid-flight do something right and land surprised and unhurt and a hero. Those kids they were trapped. The could never go directly to an anthill or dead squirrel . . . They were inside and I was outside so I was lucky. I was emancipated even from myself; from my little legs and my little mind. Me on my bike, I could go anywhere. Anywhere I dared go. I careened and dodged and penetrated. I, alone, flew and for one boundless summer made my own plan and carried it through.


  1. The moment when he comes back out after lunch what sticks with me most from that entire book.

  2. As you know, this is one of my favorite books. But this excerpt just captures that moment from childhood when you realize that a bike is not a toy - it is an experience.