Saturday, February 24, 2007

Scenes from the Boulder Bike Path

I took Bluebell out for an inaugural ride yesterday, taking advantage of an unexpectedly free afternoon and the nice weather before the next blizzard was supposed to hit (though it didn't, yay!). As I rode, I saw the usual characters: the bikers in racing gear, with fancy road bikes that cost 300 times as much as Bluebell (at least), eyes hidden behind metallic reflective sunglasses; bikers on mountain bikes or garage-sale beaters who are using the path to get from one place to another, usually riding either at a leisurely pace or standing up to pedal furiously; the runners of all kinds and speeds dressed in clothes that would make a less active person freeze; and the townfolk out for a stroll, maybe in pairs or singly, generally seen outfitted in some kind of high-tech, brand-name outdoor wear.

I also saw some unusual people. I rode behind a trio of girls, junior high-age, who blithely took up the width of the path (unheard of etiquette on the usually very busy path). They were goofing off, lifting up their legs as they coasted, weaving in and out between one another and generally enjoying the lovely afternoon, free from the fetters of school, homework, chores, and anything else that could tie these free spirits down. I was so strongly reminded on my own childhood friends and the beautiful bonds that we shared. I then remembered exactly why they make movies about those kinds of relationships: they are lovely, fleeting as childhood, and very rose-colored. I hope they can carry that lightness I saw in them into high school, puberty and beyond.

The other, extremely odd sight I was treated spurred my curiosity more than my reminiscing. It was a middle-aged man, maybe young 40s, dressed in a fleece vest over a long sleeved shirt, wearing khakis or slacks, clearly dressed for a stroll along the path, running at absolute top speed. His red cheeks were puffing, his fleece vest bouncing up and down over his heavier-than-Boulder stomach, and his arms and legs were pumping as he literally sprinted past me. What on Earth was he up to? Was he a visitor walking the path who felt shamed by all the runners and other athletic types zipping past him? Was he an engineer at the nearby lab who suddenly remembered he forgot to turn off his nuclear oven? Did he get a life or death phone call on his cell phone? My mind spun with possible scenarios, but sadly, he was running far to fast in the opposite direction for me to ever find out.

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