To Juniors, to Make Much of Time

By CJ Rudy

Essay: To Juniors, to Make Much of Time

Oct 13

(2021) I’ll admit this weekend was going to happen at some point. For years I had kicked it down the road – so to speak – thinking I could outrun the ghostly responsibilities of adult life. When the asphalt bike remained locked on the dreaded basement torture device, I was downtrodden; to have not even mounted the bike was straight-up demoralizing. 

In my post-collegiate years I no sooner had closed the door of work than I was changing and pumping tires for a weekday ride. Those rides could last as long as I wanted, so long as I was back before necessitating lights. A morph of professionalism and extremely close proximity to my job allowed for near-instant transition from work to play. I took it for granted.

As luck would have it, I would use several roads to reach out into the Bucks County farmland. Living in the center of town, renting, there were thousands of route possibilities. I took advantage of each one. But one thought made me chuckle as I headed out to all-day cycling playgrounds – the choring everyone was doing on their properties did not apply to me because I was a renter. I could ride as far as I wanted as long as I was back before necessitating lights. I was mature enough to know that I would eventually pay for giggling at those working their house and/ or land, burn piles smoky, ladders galore, lawns quaffed. Shift gears, pedal harder, speed faster, out into the country.

Then homeownership slowed things down. The job sent me far beyond the ability to ride weeknights with any satisfying mileage. Weekend rides became make-up time but even they were clipped to make up time with friends and family on account of the elongated commute. Those were the times I didn’t even get a chance to see people choring their yards. I didn’t have the opportunity to put my head down and ride silently past. Forget giggling. I was driving past these houses, exhausted from work, exhausted from driving. Saturdays were for mowing lawns, vacuuming (indoor mowing), or leaf-raking. Luckily the view to the road was strained in case a cyclist saw me.

This past weekend saw time catch up. There were the chores debts that had to be settled. For nearly all its time I cleansed the moments of giggles at those who worked their yards and houses, unable to get out and ride. I had joined them. The mileage for the week stopped on Friday and was not added to. In the distance a local cyclist was seen passing through the neighborhood, no doubt witnessing all the people who were maintaining their yards instead of their bikes. I hoped he identified the passing moment and rode a little richer.

With autumn in full swing around here, and the sooner the sun’s race is run and nearer to its setting, I encourage junior riders passing our office to have a giggle at the flanneled person raking leaves and rolling acorns. That age is best which finishes first and youth succeeds in the measure of time. Being a rider out of prime, just remember these days will become a resident of the mind. In the meantime make much of the time and ride as hard and as far as you want, but be back before you need lights.