Recently I read an article in Bicycle Magazine listing Healdsburg as one of the U.S.’s six best places for a bicycling vacation. Thatâ€™s great news. So why do I only explore this beautiful area by car? How much am I overlooking while driving at 45 miles per hour from Point A to Point B instead of discovering the undiscovered along the way? At that speed, I must be missing out on so much cool stuff to sketch. Somethingâ€™s gotta change.
The truth is, I havenâ€™t ridden my bike in years. It currently hangs where it’s been for as long as I can remember, on my garage wall collecting dust. It’s surrounded by a variety of items: partially inflated soccer balls, a dented croquet set, various brooms, a rusty space heater, and boxes full of, well, I donâ€™t know what. Even the old toy robot that scared the crap out of me at four years old is among the clutter . . . somewhere.
My dad likes to tell the story of him giving me the toy. He set it down, flipped its switch on, and â€œThe Ugly Oneâ€ as we called it, lit up and began making mechanical grinding sounds as it marched toward me. Then the top of it whirled around (like Linda Blair in The Exorcist) while guns shot out of its chest (not like The Exorcist). I ran screaming from the room, â€œTurn it off, turn it off!â€ Fortunately, over the years I’ve come to terms with my fear of the little metal monster. It gets the garage, I get the house. It works out nicely for both of us. But I wonder if The Ugly One will let me have my bike back.