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Bikexchange.com Column #12

Romancing the Bike
Gianna Bellofatto

Ms. Bellofatto is a freelance writer and avid cyclist who whose column, Life Is a Bike, appears regularly in The Bicycle Exchange

The other day I spotted a young couple on a bike. The man pedaled as his girlfriend sat on the cross bar. His arms encircled her while he held the handlebars. It looked so charming and innocent. For an instant I forgot I was in the 21st Century. But there it was, as if handed down through the ages, the familiar scene of a bicycle and two people enjoying the closeness to one anotheróand the danger! For romance and riding can be treacherous. Yet together they make a delicious combination that is sure to bring out the adventurous side in any of us.

Maybe it was the way her hair was loose and wind swept. Perhaps it was his open shirt and the way he leaned his face against hers. The sunlit street on a summer morning added beauty to the moment. I have no recollection about the type of bike that they were riding. That isnít the point. They were breaking the rules! Two on a bicycle and neither was wearing a helmet. Not serious riders, I thought, but serious lovers.

It was Saturday and I was taking a short spin to a friend about nine miles south.

I daydreamed that this couple would stop in some grassy glen beneath a tree and enjoy shared summer kisses. Thereís nothing like a bicycle leaned against a shade tree with two forms enveloped in each otherís arms to complete the scene. I never had a beau who picked me up on his bicycle and whisked me away to a quiet field on a hot summerís day. And now my cycling is with a helmet, spare tube, water bottle and lip balm. Those carefree rides with no gear vanished out of my life years ago.

Notice too how a bicycle is the vehicle of choice in movies when directors want to capture both romance and adventure. In A Little Romance and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid lovers take a spin on a bike. In Breaking Away vulnerability was pivotal to the hero; and just placing a character on a bicycle riding a lonely stretch of road will surely get the viewerís heart pounding.

There is something magical about someone on a regular bike, wearing plain clothes, or perhaps riding barefoot. A couple on a bike is undeniably romantic. Their smiles and special love speak to our souls. A longing for our youth and less complicated days brims to the surface. Sure theyíre breaking the rules, but thatís why life is a bike.

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