When I was young, I wanted a bicycle. I have always read about it, seen it in the movies and even once get to try out from my godsister’s bicycle (which I crashed into the gate while learning). From those times, I knew I wanted it. I want to have a bicycle. I want to have the freedom to cycle everywhere, sort of, not literally if I kid myself not.
So I planted the idea to my dad. But of course I would not be getting one immediately, no, my family could not afford that. That is why I had to let my dad know early towards my birthday. And as my birthday approaches, whenever he ask what I want, I would answer without a doubt – a bicycle. He would laugh at my persistence. The day comes and I went to him with a determined face. He was ready, bless him, and he took me to the bicycle shop. I get to choose from the cheapest range, a bicycle with a basket. It was nowhere the glory of the mountain bike that my god-sister have, but I didn’t mind. It’s a bicycle. That is all there is. In an innocence of a child, a bicycle is already a godsend. I chose mine in dark blue and as I lay my hands on it to push it out to the front, I was already in love before we even leave the shop.
And I cycled. Boy, did I cycled. My mum did not allow me to cycle out of the boundaries of my neighborhood, which actually means just a square of rows of houses. At that time I feel confined, I was supposed to cycle everywhere, but I didn’t mind, at least I could cycle. And little did I know, there are many ways to cycle around the same square, and many rounds you can take of the same route or not. I would cycle every weekend, both days, and I remember I would announce to my mum as I walked out and then I would cycle round and round and round. I could finish one round in 10 minutes and I would repeat for probably another 10 times, I don’t know, time does not matter then, only the sun does. As long the sun is there I continue to beat on and on with my little blue bike.
But before that, I remembered I had to learn how to cycle myself. Looking back, I am amazed by my own sheer of determination. I started with the little area of my house porch. Every day I would just move a few feet on it and would have to stop when I lose balance. Every day I inch a few more feet. I can’t remember how long it took for me to learn but soon I was able to cycle round and round my little porch, a porch that can only fit a car. So you can imagine when after I finally managed to convince my mum to release me to the neighborhood (though earlier I said confined me to it), it was heaven. The neighborhood became the ultimate playground and I was ecstatic. The little girl now can cycle everywhere, almost!
Long after as I have grown, and the bicycle had been relegated to a corner while I moved out to the city for my studies then my work, I no longer cycled. The city is no place for a bicycle, as we all know, and so it was not a need or a want. In fact, I was too busy discovering the new things in life and the new environment, now I am everywhere but without my bicycle. Little did I know, the time I finally go onto a bicycle again would be when I was traveling somewhere far away, somewhere unknown. When I got back onto a bicycle, a wave of familiar feeling rush over me while I was cycling through a place entirely foreign to me. It was nostalgic yet it was liberating, a new experience of an old feeling. I flashback to the time when I was inching feet by feet at my little porch and thank that persistence kid silently.
Then now I discover the joy of cycling again. As I traveled around the world, I cycled whenever I can. I just love the two wheels (apart from my first favourite choice which is my own feet as those are true freedom but that’s a post for another day). When I first went on my dream trip to the UK, I cycled around my godsister’s village discovering creeks and pastures of greens. When I was on a project in Netherlands, I rented a bicycle for a week to cycle to work, because I have been seeing everyone doing it and I could not envy no more and got myself one, then it got too cold by the end of the week to continue doing so. Then I cycled all the way from the town to the island of abandoned windmill and back, all in the cold. I cycled on an ancient wall circling an old city in China looking down at old houses and people. I cycled in a remote village in Cambodia in search of lost temples and elusive mountains. I cycled in the heart of Indonesia discovering villages and new hideout points to admire the gigantic ancient temple. I cycled around thousands and thousands of temples in Burma admiring them and chasing sunrise and sunsets.
Now I see that the little me was right then. Yes I wanted a bicycle to cycle everywhere, and so I did, I have cycled everywhere, and this time, literally.