A couple of weeks ago, we suggested 25 ways you could spend your summer vacation. Today, I urge you to get on a bike.
We can skip the part about wearing your helmet because, let’s be real, no school is going to accept you if you can’t follow basic health and safety rules. They know if you didn’t study for your SATs and they know if you don’t wear a helmet.
Bike-riding catapults you right into the feels, and I’m not talking about the bike-riding that could be described as a leisurely stroll-on-wheels. Challenge yourself! After a long year of sitting still and studying and memorizing and writing until your hand cramps, pedaling until your legs ache can be a gateway to the cathartic experience you’ve needed ever since that brutal physics test.
But maybe you don’t need catharsis. The sense of autonomy a bicycle gives you is unparalleled, especially if you have hulking city buses and pesky slow-walkers to zoom past. You can laugh triumphantly at their caveman reliance on foot-to-ground travel and revel in your adoption of mankind’s greatest creation: the wheel.
Yeah buses have wheels, but they aren’t going to make those sharp, sudden turns that lead you to that park you weren’t going to bother exploring 0.235 seconds ago. The constrictions of parents and teachers loosen and you become the sole master of your (however short-sighted) destiny.
With so many choices zooming by you at exactly the speed your legs dictate, you start making choices and committing to their consequences, which sounds suspiciously like what a lot of parents tell their children is an integral part of growing up.
You’re busy. You’ve got track and field and geometry and Model UN (and that’s just on Wednesdays), so you probably have to jump between a lot of responsibilities in any given 24-hour period. Biking clears all that out. Not dissimilar to swimming, it forces you to keep your mind almost completely occupied with the singular task of not dying.
Admissions can be a dark rabbit-hole of uncertainty, but the effort of staying upright on two wheels held together by a bit of steel is a reminder that some things (like the soft pull of gravity) are dependable (if painfully so), and easily testable, with a turnaround time for results of about one second. Possibly less.
That being said, ride cautiously, but strive to reach that speed with which you can stop pedaling and coast on your previous efforts, feeling something close to weightlessness.