It is quiet and cool, almost cold, for an October morning in Plano. As I pedal down residential streets, I find myself doing something I never do at any other time of the day. I am racing my bicycle. This isn’t your typical bicycle race; there are no pelatons, no sprints, and really not much speed. It is a race between myself and my shadows.
I first noticed this play of light and shadow shortly after I started riding again as an adult a few years ago. I started riding in the pre-dawn hours to avoid the uncomfortable heat that is so prevalent in our summers. Many of the residential areas I ride through have various forms of street lighting. These lights create a unique pattern of shadows that I find very allegorical.
As you pass a street light your shadow accelerates past you, then as you approach the next light, this alter ego slowly fades away, only to reappear as you move past that next light. During these early morning hours it isn’t unusual, particularly as the weather grows colder, that my shadow is the only person I encounter on these early morning rides. I like it that way. The peace and solitude of these rides serve to alleviate any stresses and concerns that exist in my other life. In many ways, the shadow serves as an allegory for the person who is experiencing those vagaries of life.
No matter your reasons for owning and riding a bicycle, if you haven’t already had a race with yourself I urge you to give it a try. It doesn’t need to be about speed, or competition, but it is a chance to meet yourself and learn something.