By Louise Krug

October 20, 2014


Depending on whom you talked to, it was either a recumbent bicycle or an adult tricycle. There was a big difference between the two terms. “Recumbent bicycle” sounded like a serious piece of machinery, and called to Louise’s mind old men who wore spandex shorts and sucked packets of energy gel. “Adult tricycle,” though, sounded too special, something for people who could not ride a two-wheeled bicycle, and well, who couldn't do that? It was like saying “Adult crib” or “Adult diaper”—something for the very old, the almost gone from this world.

Louise got one, though. A trike. Silver, with fenders and a big basket in the back, screaming farmer’s market. Louise took it for a ride around the block the first night she got it, wobbling the handlebars, gripping the rubber handles so hard her forearms ached. She hadn't ridden a bike for at least eight years, before all the surgeries. But the trike itself stayed steady.

She kept going—over the train tracks, down a road headed to the county line. She was moving fast now, and she was quiet. The feeling was sort of like swimming: one’s clumsiness, the force of gravity pinning feet to the ground, the weight of the body and how it sagged and dimpled, everything pointing down sadly—all that didn't matter now. Louise moved forward, continuously, pedaling toward something new. In this way, she was changing.


Photo "Trike..." provided by Gary Simmons, via Flickr creative commons license.

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