Yes, that describes well the euphoria you feel when riding a bicycle, the first time or anytime. I may have begun to lose weight, but cycling quickly becomes an obsession you can't shake. I was soon getting in so many miles a week, between the local cycling club, and the state rides, that I found myself never needing to ride alone anymore. By late July, the thermometer hit the triple digits in our area that year, which is not uncommon. July and early August usually mean soaring temperatures for us in the northern temperate zones. These are the hottest, most sultry days of summer... the "Dog Days" of summer.
We also use the expression Dog Days to describe a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by a dull lack of progress. Seeing that the Dog Days were heating up, that friday night was the yearly Dog Days Lunar Bike Ride at Mt. Berry Mall there in Rome. That event is one of a kind, with all ages and experience level of cyclists participating. I arrived a few minutes early, to see a few townie teenagers riding around the parking lot without helmets, which naturally caused me to cringe in shock. I know this happens a lot in town, but can't decide why. (Riding without a helmet ranks right up there with smoking, and doing drugs for me. I know people do it, but I love my brain cells and lungs too much to be that foolish.)
Fortunately, the event director made the announcement over the speakers quickly that everyone must wear a helmet as signed in the waiver at registration, or be escorted away by the supervising policemen, and no more bare heads were seen.
The ride started with the tune to "Chariots of Fire" playing over the loudspeakers, (I love that tune!) while the full moon shone brightly in his spot overhead. The average Joe crowd, being people in t-shirts, were in the middle lane around the outer perimeter of the mall, going clockwise. The speed racer jersey crowd was doing paces in the outer lane, and the tykes on trikes and wee children were in the right hand inner lane of traffic, and in the parking lot for safety. Music was a mix of oldies, from "Mustang Sally" to "Grease."
The charm was in seeing a chain of racers on the left speed by in excess of 20mph, while on the right, little boys and girls spun their tricycle pedals so fast, you could tell they thought they were really riding with the big dogs. The police were stationed at corners of the perimeter, and actually had a speed wagon set up, so the tikes could see how fast everybody was going without a bike computer. Sometime after midnight, the crowd had cleared, and many of the children had gone home to bed.
The teenagers must have sensed more liberty to use the whole track. One happy teen came spinning past me in the right hand lane, racing against a couple of other teens on the left of me, or rather missed his goal and careened into my right side. I barely caught a glimpse of his t-shirt as I went sailing through the air, feeling like a skinny rag doll. I bounced around on the pavement like a basketball, hitting my helmet and my face, and my right arm quite a bit. I could hear the kid in the group surrounding me, walking around, repeating, "It was an accident. I didn't mean to." I felt sorry for him because he sounded scared. No reason to be scared I thought from my position on the ground. I would just be a little sore tomorrow.
The guards told me to lie still, they were calling an ambulance. I said I was fine... just to give me a minute to see straight. I head a voice in the group say an ambulance was on the way. I hurried to my feet thinking of five hundred buck ambulance trips. I asked if the teen was ok, but then I realized the teen had skipped out... hit and run... lol... before I even got off the pavement. Suddenly I didn't feel as much sympathy :)
The helmet did its job, holding my brains intact, but alas, I no longer had as much padding on my posterior. I thought I was going to get back on my unscathed bicycle, until I took the first step. My right arm suffered minor bruising and a sprained elbow, which healed nicely and quickly. We got a couple of awesome t-shirts. They are blue with a picture of a skinny hound dog with a helmet on, riding a bike under the light of the moon. He looks so happy and care free with his tongue hanging out. He looks just like that teenager did the moment before he careened into my bike.
The summer after my first two surgeries, during the time I had gone back to work, I volunteered at the Dog Days Ride, at the registration table. It was great to get to be a part, even if I couldn't manage the strength to ride myself. I think that this is one of the things I enjoyed most about cycling... the group effort put out by a cycling community to involve people of all ages and abilities. Another event I enjoyed after my surgeries was fitting kids from the local projects with free helmets, provided by the hospital. It was awesome to see the face of the children of all ages and hairstyles, waiting patiently while we adjusted the helmet straps and installed the padding to fit over their braids, fros, or bald heads, as needed. Some children were so small, it took multiple adjustments before the helmet rode safely on their heads as they rode their bikes away with a wide grin and wheels spinning.