What she said to me was this: "We may never have a new car, but I can give you a new bike." This was how she introduced me to the vehicle that would be my main mode of transportation for the next decade. Green and sleek, it was a bicycle like I had not seen before. It wasn't a mountain bike. It wasn't a racing bike. It was a Raleigh C-40. Shifters on the handlebars, under my thumbs, changing gears was a twist of the right hand, or the left if I wanted to shift down into climbing mode. Twenty-one speeds. More than twice the number I had ever experienced before.
All these years later I still marvel at it. Not just the bicycle. That is certainly amazing enough, but the way this gift has kept on giving. Over the course of days and weeks and months that I have been riding my Raleigh, we have owned three different cars. This is not to say that we go through cars, either. We ran one, a white hatchback of limited repute, into the ground. Bought it's replacement: gold Saturn station wagon. That was stolen. Then we bought our space age Prius. I've put a lot of miles on the C-40 in that time. It's not a new bike anymore. I'd like to tell you that I've been a lot of places, but my bike and I are pretty much a one-route tandem: back and forth to work.
And that's where the romance comes in. Every day it's like the elastic band that connects me to my love, my life. The bike is the thing that brings me back home. It was a gift from my wife, so I believe she expects me to come back. She wants me to come back. So that's what I do, as fast as that old bike will let me.