This is the first piece that I ever wrote that was edited by a professional editor of a magazine; a dear friend of mine, David, and a proud moment for me for sure. How can I NOT post it to my blog?! Happy reading!
Cycling has always been important to Liane de Witt, and although much has changed, it’s provided a constant theme to her life.
I remember riding my bicycle – a white and pink Ralleigh road bike – to school when I was just 11, a suitcase strapped to the back containing my most prized possession: my books. I didn’t care that much for what was in the books; just that it was not my world.
I escaped often when I was young. I escaped from a home that was so filled with tension that I could not wait to ride off into the sunrise every morning. The warmth of it on my face gave me new hope for a better future. And in the afternoon it was my hour of tranquillity, riding home as slowly as I could without falling over. On my bike I could dream and those dreams had the potential to come true! And oh, did I dream big! On my bike my dreams had wings. I didn’t ride – I could fly!
I traded my bike for a moped when I was 16.Now my dreams could fly higher and I could ride faster. It’s more difficult to feel the sun on your face or the wind in your hair when wearing a helmet, but I didn’t care. It didn’t take away my ability to dream and anything was possible, looking out at the world through the visor. In another way that visor was also the window into my world. Inside that helmet was a safe place where I often cried, raged, dreamed... Others could see “through” my window, and yet they couldn’t see ME; my thoughts, my feelings, my vulnerability... I felt safe.
Then for a while I didn’t ride, I didn’t dream. I lost myself in difficult decisions, lonely circumstance and personal growth, until I realized one day what I needed: a new bicycle!
But times had changed. Cycling had become a ‘dangerous sport’. In place of training wheels, skinned knees and grazed hands were lots of protective gear and “No helmet, no ride”. But that was okay, because it was my heart that was skinned and I needed to ride again for it to heal. Bring on the helmet!
This time I was riding to let go: to let go of anger, to let go of frustration, to let go of sadness, of loneliness and to rediscover my beautiful self again. I needed to see beauty. I needed to feel warmth. I needed to hear a new melody and I needed to stop to smell the roses, even if they grew in someone else’s garden.
I needed to believe again that anything was possible and that dreams could come true after all. I needed a new song in my heart. On my journey I rediscovered myself. I found peace in the rolling of the wheels and the humming sound of rubber on tar, flying downhill just because I can! I could hear the birds sing again, I could see a blue sky and a new horizon. I could dream again that anything was possible, and I did!