Mark here, husband, father and contributor of thefamilyride.com.
I have to apologize for the lack of recent content on my part. It has been too long since I have contributed to this site but I admit that I have been struggling to relate to ‘family adventure by bicycle’ as a philosophy in recent months.
There was a time when I was truly absorbed by all the possibility and excitement that is traveling by bike, and sharing that with my closest and most cherished loved ones. When I created this website over a year ago I thought I was irreversibly captured by the sense of freedom and human potential to be experienced on a bicycle. I have hopes that those feelings will be restored.
I am admitting to having lost sight of these precious values regarding this wonderful form of pass time many of us share. Somewhere during these past six to seven months I have allowed ordinary life pressures to quell my thirst for adventure to a point where I struggle to even glance in the general direction of my bicycles in the corner our tiny rented garage. I pass by them each morning in the dark before I climb into our SUV, where my commute across a couple of towns to an industrial park will guarantee me some compensation for adhering bits of fiberglass to each other and then sanding them.
This is all ordinary, acceptable behavior that my community understands and encourages… and yet I am unhappy. Why?
I can surf the radio stations for an inspiring song, as I do not enjoy hearing the news while I drive- after all, CNN makes sure I am more than current on missing airliners and murderous olympians while I eat my lunch at work.
Life is an automobile is life in captivity for me. In recent years I have been spoiled in a sort of compromise in the car: when I found myself riding in one it most often meant I was en route to an outdoor adventure.
This has reversed, which brings me to my additional challenge- my new auto destinations, two of them to be exact (if you exclude the gas station each week). One is an employment situation with no meaningful long term benefits and the other is a busy, routine weary household that is wondering where the ‘happy’ me has fled to. This is quite possibly the hardest of the two- a house filled with the very same people that I shared an incredible experience with, and how they toil with their over-scheduled, under-financed, domesticated day to day life.
We no longer understand one another in the ways we did last summer, instead we are weary at the end of each day as a result of our strangely localized household lives and are compelled to ‘zone out’ most evenings in some form until bed time.
Are the things that offer us stability and security really just holding us hostage from a life thoroughly and boldly lived? Are all the well-intentioned people around us really prisoners sharing the same cell? Are we all being tricked into believing that this is how human beings were intended to enjoy life? I’m not buying it. There is more to this game than chasing down invisible schedules and living safely perched from the earth that we crave.
This Sunday I will go out to the garage and look at one of those bicycles with honesty. This apathetic and weary man longs for it to take him away, to take his family away- from all this safe and secure emptiness and be adventurous again. Perhaps it will take a very long ride indeed- to clear my lungs, my mind and my soul of the gunk that I have allowed in.