Decades. That’s the current length of my
love affair with bicycling and bicycles...
And like many great love affairs, it goes through time
alternately—or simultaneously—tumultuous and rewarding,
challenging and gratifying.
At the moment, my 21-speed Trek, purchased on Craigslist,
lives in a corner of my cottage, ready to be pressed into service
at any moment. I chose my current neighborhood based on ease
of two-wheeled transport, proximity to bike lanes, Co-Oppor-tunity, Yogaglo, the ocean, the Promenade, UCLA, and points
beyond. I trade hints for good biking routes with this magazine’s two-wheeled roving correspondent, Joni Yung, and we
frequently make plans to bikepool if we’ll be riding home from
late-night kirtans. Just yesterday, I was biking through Santa
Monica when I heard my name, and I was able to easily make
a U-turn to engage in a curbside conversation. I can’t imagine
my life without a bike at this point, and even though people
sometimes think I’m crazy to bike in this city, I do it often (with
a helmet), Yoga mat slung across my shoulders, front basket
filled with whatever I need for the day.
Growing up, I began biking in the neighborhood on a Big Wheel,
graduated to training wheels, later discovered the joys of multiple different speeds. I’ve ridden century rides along high altitude
mount-ain pass routes in Colorado, prayed my way through chaotic intersections in Vietnam, spent a year bike commuting along
medieval streets with rain gear when I worked and lived in Cambridge, England. And now, I schedule car-free days because when
I am too many days in a car, I feel restless. And because I have days
when I run all my errands by bike, my Yoga practice is tailored to
cross-train the muscles that take a beating with miles propelling
metal and me.
There is something about traveling by bike that inspires a
feeling of freedom, a similar freedom to that found on the Yoga
mat. On a bike, it’s partially freedom from gas stations and oil
companies, freedom to ride in fresh air and enjoy a completely
new view of the city or the coastline.
Of course, travel or recreation in this way has its limitations.
But evidenced by the bicycling communities and the numbers
of Yoga teachers and students who responded to my Facebook
queries to identify cycling yogis, I am not alone in my love of
cycling. Many yogis eschew the car for a two-wheeled option to
head to the studio (and parking is free!). There is even a bike to
work week (this month of May, in fact) promoted nationwide,
and held in Los Angeles May 16- 20. It’s an opportunity to
remember that even in this city of the car and era of the automobile, there is a very yogic transportation option that we can
power ourselves with our sweat and our breath.
Sometimes the time on the mat is cross-training for the miles
on the path. And as we approach the long days of summer, we
can enjoy the time spent on two wheels.
See you on the road.
Felicia M. Tomasko, RN