“I can fly. I have legs!” I shouted, a spin on lines uttered by Eddie Murphy in the 1983 film Trading Places, in which a commodities broker and homeless man reverse roles.
Soon I felt like a new man. Not only could I bike, but I loved to bike. Each ride felt as if I were walking on air. From then on, my life had a new guiding principle: When I was outside, I was on my bike. And when I was inside, I was on my bike too. One afternoon I even excitedly biked into the headmaster’s office. “Not in here, young man!” he exclaimed.
I’ll never forget greeting my parents on my bike when they arrived for graduation. Despite participating in competitive sports in my youth, I know they considered me a nerd incapable of physical maneuver. During that weekend, I finally impressed my high school varsity football-playing dad as I saddled up and swiftly rode across campus.
Shortly thereafter, my grandparents offered me a once-in-a-lifetime graduation gift: a bike tour.
I made calls to investigate where and when. I was still a novice, of course, so I chose the flatlands of Holland and Belgium. It was amazing. I biked past age-old churches,? beautiful pastures and the country’s best waffle makers. After that trip, I started my undergraduate work at Harvard, where I’m concluding my senior year in Cambridge. A history major who has studied everything Americana from Jefferson’s writings to Woody Allen’s films, I still concentrate on my academics and writing. But thanks to Mr. Gorham, I have a lifelong companion to those cerebral engagements: the joy of a bike. For three years and counting, I have embraced my rides along Boston’s Charles River. It has not only been a source of exercise but of enduring happiness.
To this day, I know very little about the mechanics of the bike. But when I get on the seat, I feel nothing but bliss. And so I say with gusto, for every person in pursuit of a lasting dream, it’s never too late. And the odds aren’t as stacked against you as you might think.