A Tribute to the Ancient Bicycler Who Blew By Me Today

I know nothing about her other than that her helmet was pink, her vest was reflective, and she must have been over 80 years old. One thing I do know is that I saw the most incredible person alive today, and she demolished my ego.

When has happiness ever been a good idea

I’ve been riding my bike to work for a while now, and when I’m not sweating, crying, or cussing, I feel almost positive about my progress as someone who is slowly developing the rough approximation of a human body. Once, I even flexed my leg and it didn’t look completely like like a cave slug. It has been a long process of suffering and feeling like nothing good has come of it, and finally, I felt decent about myself. That was my first mistake.

I don’t know if she was born or made. I don’t know if she lived a lifetime of strife and success and grit before her brief encounter with me or, maybe, she was assembled in a lab run by a secret agency whose sole job is to monitor me and make sure I don’t get too full of myself. No matter her origin, in the span of a half second, this force of nature or culmination of human endeavors slaughtered the progress my ego had gained, and she did it while ringing a little bell on her bicycle.

No picture of a human could do her justice so this biker owl will have to do

And here’s how it happened. I, an innocent enough fellow, was peddling along on my bicycle making my way to campus at what I thought was a respectable pace which was slow compared to cars and quick compared to the speed at which Twinkies decay. The wind was in my hair, my clothes were whipping about, my eyes were watering because a bug had died on my forehead, and my heart was light, and then she was there, and her little bicycle bell chirped, and then she wasn’t.

I saw her only long enough for her face to forever be burned into my psyche. She was old, but not the kind of old in which you’d feel comfortable only describing her as old. She was ancient, and she was grinning like a maniac with nuclear launch codes. Then she was gone before I could finish my whimper, and all I had to remind myself of her existence was the rapidly shrinking view of her back. She was magnificent, and she’s gone from my life forever. I’ll remember her as someone unstoppable, an unremitting, unforgiving force of bicycle prowess, and I will forever be in her shadow.

This encounter with the ancient cyclist is the explanation I will give to the people who care about me when they ask me why I’m lying on the floor spooning my helmet and begging for death.  

23 Replies to “A Tribute to the Ancient Bicycler Who Blew By Me Today”

  1. I’m old, but not yet ancient, and I ride my bike regularly. Sadly, though, I have yet to blow by anyone else who is also transporting themselves on two wheels. That said, I do quite well up against nannies pushing infants in baby carriages.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. haha my wife, often mistaken for a nanny, is not speedy, but has a lot of upper body strength. Her favourite gambit, rearrange the furniture and laugh as I try to negotiate the new topography!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dang. I can only imagine the intensity one has to have in order to maintain such break neck levels of speed at that age.

    One can only hope to reach a zen level of biking that a bell can only signify total victory. Once you hear it, you know you’re going to be lapped.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There’s a guy at the gym where I work out. He’s 80 + and he has guns. A former special opps guy who’d be the perfect match for the lady with the pink helmet. I won’t tell him. I want to keep him around. I like his stories and he is an inspiration to me. Thanks for the great post. Ray

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very humorous post as always! My ego took quite a few hits running in a marathon, as runners well into their sixties and seventies blew past me. Ran the next year, got an even worse time, I hit a wall at 13 miles, so I (hehe) walked the rest and chatted with slowpokes like me! I’ll go again this year, I’m masochistic that way…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, I can’t imagine how I’d feel from a marathon. The first problem there is that you’re running a marathon, and the second is that you’d have to deal with the other people in relentlessly better shape. Walking seems like the human thing to do.


      1. On the flip side, you can form so many words using the letters of her name. I did it with my students to try to instill a little love for the language.


      2. That sounds like a fun thing to do with a class. I think the most important thing you can do with a few letters of her name is “die lad,” which I’m sure is what she was thinking as she passed me

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m going to blame the sun being in my eye for that. Instead it can be “die ad” because this new version of our glorious biker is really not a fan of commercials that come on while she’s trying to watch her soaps


  5. Sounds like the Terminator on a Bike. I’m with danielion9. She needs a name to make her more human. I like Geraldine. Or perhaps Beatrice. Blanche or Henrietta might work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And thank you so much for the nominations! I haven’t been nominated for something since I was elected Treasurer of my 5th grade student government. This feels better than that, and I definitely won’t lose the money box this time

      Liked by 1 person

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