When I was a kid, I used to rush home from school every day to my bike. She was a white, hand-me-down Pro Performer. Not much to look at but she got me where I needed to go. I would blast out the driveway and over this one bump that sent me in the air just enough to make it worth hitting. When I got to the end of the street I would throw my bike over the chain link fence and then squeeze under this one part that wasn’t buried all the way. That fence was the gateway to another dimension for me.
In all reality, it was just the property boundry of the city golf course. But those hills and trees were my after school program and beyond that fence was anything I could ever want. It had dirt paths, a stream dammed into ponds, sections of forest, and most importantly it had fish. I spent every afternoon in those “woods” chasing around sunfish and carp like they were record setting Marlin. I was maybe about 12 years old when it all started and it was my daily obsession for years, as long as the water wasn’t frozen. The bike was a tool I used to get to my obsession faster and it allowed me to stay just a little longer before the dreaded street lights came on.
I find it funny that even as an adult, the lights coming on means the fun is ending. Back then it was your signal to hustle home before you caught hell from your parents. Today, those ugly lights tell you that it is time to pay your tab and swerve your drunk ass home.
That obsession grew into my college education in the life sciences and eventually the career I have today. But what amazes me the most is how the bike slowly took over everything. It started with finding a longer path to the fishing hole, then cutting a trail to the water so that we could ride right up to the edge without hiking. Then as time went on, the fishing poles were left propped up against a tree branch with the lines in the water while I went and explored the forest by bike. Eventually jumps were built and skills were honed to the point where the fishing poles were left at home.
Last week I decided I should go ride my bike to catch some fish. It was a spur of the moment plan but I knew right where to go. I loaded my pack with my pole, some beers, and a couple sandwiches and set out to make a day of it. I did a nice little ride on the Arizona Trail and eventually pedaled down a creek bed that ran right into the Blue Ridge Reservoir. I found what looked to be a good little hole and caught oversized trout minnows all day. It was a great afternoon. I was screwing around with my video camera some more and put a little clip together.
It was a pretty fun flashback to my childhood and I can’t wait to go again. Keep it dirty…by