“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel… the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”
― Susan B. Anthony
Maybe it’s all that, maybe it’s not, but the truth is, since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved my time on bicycles, whenever mine was broken or too old to move anymore, I would beg my mother restlessly for another one, I loved the feeling of flying with the wind, of the strong vibe that went through me, of the freedom and lightness I felt when going so fast.
I always wanted a beautiful bicycle with a gorgeous color and a basket… like pink or baby blue or even green mint with a bell. But my wish for such bike where shattered when my parents got me one, and a few weeks or days (not sure) later it was stolen! Yup! I was devastated and I returned to my ugly boring grey and blue bike.
Years passed when we moved around and I didn’t ride a bike until visiting my aunt in New Jersey, I went around the block in it so many times in my visit, that one afternoon the whole neighborhood went on theirs as well, I guess the one I borrowed belonged to my cousin and it was so much fun, it got competitive and with so many ages from 5 till 60! It was a good afternoon.
In any case, years passed, and I got sick then heavier, I kept seeing people cycling around and every year I would say to myself: “I’m going to do this too when I lose weight, it’s on my wish list!” But years passed and I didn’t do it. So I decided that this year 2014 is going to be different.
On February 6, 2014 I registered my name in Cycling Jordan for the cycling next day, a part of me was flying-in-the-air-excited and another part was terrified that I would be too heavy, that I won’t cross all the 25 km, that I forgot how to do it. The team there encouraged me and told me that I will surprise myself and guess what? I did!!
The weather was cool in Dead Sea, though it was freezing in Amman, I liked that I didn’t have to put so much effort too early in the morning, everything was scheduled after 1:00 pm. So I felt I was physically and mentally ready, I was glad I had my coat and scarf on, it was freezing! Everyone told me: “Smart move!” Well, I don’t like getting sick!
I was surprised when the bus took another street when we were on the Dead Sea road, and suddenly we were in the most beautiful section, filled with private lands and farms, the air there smelled differently: fresh and earthly. I was enchanted.
When we parked beside a farm-house that belonged to one of the team member’s parents, I couldn’t stop looking around me, taking photos and filling my eyes with the beauty… I think the city has ruined me! I need to get out more and explore!
They gave me a vest and a helmet and a bike good with my length, the bike was so different from what I used to use, it was more dynamic and athletic, with narrower seat (ouch!) and so much brakes and stuff! For a minute there I totally panicked but tried to hide it. I felt completely out of my comfort zone… until I rode it.
It was perfect. Simply perfect.
I wanted to keep up with the rest of the team, but gave up… I decided to go with my own pace and enjoy the ride, and oh boy, I did… the scenery, the landscapes all around me, were all picturesque! I tried to capture as much as possible with my camera phone and memorize the rest, I still can see it all when I close my eyes. Divine.
Some stages were easy, but others were so hard, specially the ones near people who were grilling and pointing at us. It’s so hard to ride a bike quickly when kids start running around you and men comment on your backside! In any case, we took few breaks when we crossed a few km.
In the end we reached the skydiving airport where we stopped to enjoy dinner and chat. And yes, YES, I actually did it. I crossed the whole way! My body was aching especially my backside but I felt happy, proud and healthy. I can’t wait to do it again. But I don’t like summer, not sure if I’ll enjoy it when the weather is so hot now.
The group I went with was amazing, like a huge family, we played games, talked nonsense and laughed so much… the food was a group effort from the team that organizes the weekly trips, it was delicious! I enjoyed every bite!
We went back to Amman, and all the way the bus hummed with talking and laughing… it was a beautiful day. I really can’t wait for next time!