riding my bike again. after months and months off. what happened to the winter this year? mild. never even got cold. tonight after work, after sundown. dark sky and a chill in the wind. but it’s not cold. sweatshirt and windbreaker is all i need. my route up milwaukee to elston and on to kedzie.
waiting for the light to change at western and elston an older man pulls up on his bike and says something that’s hard to make out – something about we don’t ride, we glide. i smile and agree and we’re off when the light changes. breathing as i ride. watching the street and the lights. at california the light is turning yellow but i hear the older man’s voice, let’s beat the light. and he comes from behind and flies by me on my right.
we ride together the rest of the way. he’s from poland. he’s in his 60’s but bench presses 200 pounds! he rides everywhere! he and his son both do. he loves to ski! has skied all over europe! he asks how old i am, i tell him 34. 34? like my son. you are an old goat. but i am an old ma-a-a-a-an. he bleats like a goat. he’s on his way home from volunteering at catholic charities. we head north on kedzie together. a car pulls out in front of him just north of the brown line tracks. when we meet up again at lawrence, i say, bad drivers. he says – what can you do? i’m patient. there are bad drivers all over. poland? terrible drivers. russia? terrible! czech republic? terrible drivers. germany and belgium, terrible. switzerland? he pauses – not so bad.
at foster we say goodbye and i head home. the light is on in the kitchen.