Ever since I emerged from high school, the days seem to be getter shorter. The boundless expanse that once was the weekend, now feels more like a brief moment. As a 10 year-old my typical Satuday didn’t involve any plans or to-do lists, and yet I always managed to accomplish so much; building a cubby house out of old blankets and mattresses, hiking the local hill to get gelato, and collecting random insects for closer inspection and possible pets. I knew nothing of alarm clocks or deadlines; the only indicators of time I knew were hunger and daylight.
As an adult, there are few things that can cut through the malaise of over burdened schedules and responsibilities; bike riding with mates is one of them.
Other than meeting at the Manly ferry at 0930 and heading in the general direction of the Manly Dam trail, my mate and I had absolutely zero plans today. We weren’t out to do a certain number of laps, clock a certain time or reach a certain speed; we did have our sights set on making it up this techy boulder section, but that was more of a personal goal than it was an item on a to-do list. We left our adult sensibilities at home and giggled as we splashed through mud, grunted as we launched our bikes up rocks, and cheered as we conquered new sections. We stopped and sessioned spots on the trail until we mastered them, or got tired trying. I’m sure the throng of riders that passed us marching back forth to one particular constellation of boulders must have thought we were a tad odd, as I am sure did the lycra-clad speed demon who crossed our paths right at the moment we simultaneously declared, out loud, how much we loved our bikes. A war could have been raging back in civilization for all we knew; we were oblivious to everything except the trail ahead. It was only when we started getting hungry and tired did we think about heading home. The ride back just another opportunity for adventure; we bombed down hills all tucked up like a folded umbrella, chatted incessantly about nothing, and planned future rides to far off trails.
After I parked my muddy-as bike, and used the full force of the shower to pressure clean the dirt from underneath my fingernails, I sat in my backyard with a bowl of fruit and thought about how incredibly lucky I was to have my very own time machine; a bike that could instantly transport me to a time 17 years ago when having fun was the first and only item on my to-do list.