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August 22, 2013

ABBOTT: Fat chicks need bike rides, too

My husband said to me today, “I guess you are not as spry as you used to be.” Nothing makes me feel old as when a loved one uses the word “spry” about me. Limber, perhaps?

His pithy assessment came after we stopped at a second-hand shop with a row of bicycles in front.

Lately, I’ve longed for a bicycle, like the blue one I rode in college.

In my mind I’m whizzing on the sublime river trail in our town, pedaling along easily and watching the barges flow past on the Ohio.

In my deep fantasies, I’m Minnie Driver in “Return to Me,” riding in Rome around flower peddlers, nuns and Italian scooters.

Without a car for the first three years at Ball State University, if I wanted to go anywhere I had three choices: walk, ride my bike or grovel enough until someone with a car took me along.

During the week, I rode my bike to class. I lived on the east end of campus and most of my classes were on the far west end. If I close my eyes and concentrate hard, I can get on my virtual blue bicycle and ride in my memories from the dorm to the journalism building. The ride only exists in my memory as the campus looks very different now. Ball State shifted the center of campus north a few years ago and continues the expansion and growth of a fine university.

Outside of Hurlbut Hall, I unlock my bike, one nice enough to ride but not nice enough to be stolen. I buzz the parking lots of Studebaker East and past the parking garage and up a slight hill past Bracken Library and University Hall. On the sidewalk to the Scramble Light and across to the old part of campus where I purposely take the long way around the drive rather than cutting past Cooper Life Science and the old gym.

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