Graduation brings goodbyes. Farewell to professors, dorm rooms, classes, and an invincible attitude. It also brings about a change in friendships. The classmates of four years, the roommates you lived with, and the friends you went out with are no longer right across the hallway from you. I have a different kind of story with something I consider to be one of my best friends. With it, I have not only made unforgettable memories but also hilarious life lessons that I am thrilled to share. These are the adventures of me and my beach kruizer.
I was given my beautiful orange beach kruizer on my 19 birthday, the summer before sophomore year of college. I know I said that this story is about the four years of college, but I had a mountain bike my freshman year and that just doesn’t add any interest to this story.
On my birthday, I knew that this bike would be the pride and joy of my next three years at MU. I would ride it everywhere: class, the beach, Dunkin Donuts, friends’ houses, the gym, you name it and that bike was with me. As I finish my last two weeks as a college student, my bike is still by my side. The two of us have learned many lessons of everyday life.
“Late” is not a word in my vocabulary. There have been numerous mornings where I find myself rushing to get to my 8:30 class. By 8:25, I am zooming by everyone on the road and through campus. By 8:27, my bike is locked. By 8:29, I am sitting in my seat with my notes out ready to go.
Not only do I have to thank my legs for pedaling so quickly, but I also learned that time management does not always mean balancing several responsibilities. It can simply mean making sure I am not rushing myself to get somewhere important.
Although I will be taking a train into work from now on, I realized that being rushed isn’t always the safest option. The good thing about riding a bike everywhere is that I wasn’t operating a vehicle going 60 mph in a 35 mph zone, so I would never get pulled over for how fast I was going. This brings me to lesson number two.
People cannot drive, at all. When you are in a car, you can beep, yell, curse, or turn up the radio when your blood starts to boil. When on a bike, it’s not that easy. I have learned how to swerve, jump curbs, and speed across the street.
My reaction time has improved about 100 percent because of the many times I’ve had to do so. I witness more things when biking down streets than people driving ever will, such as how four out of five cars are driven by people that are either texting or eating. Right turn signals seem to be out of style too. I’ve had to slam on my brake pedals countless times because apparently I’m invisible to the drivers that fail to see a bright orange bicycle crossing the road. Slamming on bike brakes isn’t a pretty sound, and I’m surprised I haven’t broken my chains yet. Not only am I grateful for the many times I’ve gotten lucky making it across the street safely, but I’ve also realized how much more conscious I will be when I get behind the wheel of my car again.
Safety come first on the road. I should probably invest in a helmet. Speaking of people not being able to drive brings me to my last point.
A baby can crawl faster than people can walk. This is partially because babies aren’t physically capable of texting. It still amazes me how many times I’ve come close to slamming into someone because they cannot choose on which side of the walkway to stay. Surprisingly, I have only biked into someone once, and it was one of the funniest moments of my life. If you are one of those people that is constantly staring down at your phone while you are walking, please occasionally look up to check out the world around you. You may not realize the beautiful rainbow above you or the speeding bicycle riding behind you. Although I am guilty of the occasional text-walk-and-don’t-look-up syndrome, I’ve learned to consider my surroundings both while I’m walking and biking. It’s a safer world for everyone that way.
Even though these three lessons aren’t the most life-changing, they have really defined the most memorable experiences on my beach kruizer. My bicycle is the one thing I will not have to say goodbye to when I graduate, but I hope to kiss those crazy experiences farewell for good.
PHOTO COURTESY of Victoria Jordan