A few weeks ago, I took my bike in for its spring tune-up at my favourite bike shop.
I love getting back on my bike again. I don't drive (which is a whole other story), so riding my bike gives me a sense of independence. Riding has always given me a feeling of freedom and on good days, I renew the euphoria of childhood as I make my way around the city on my own steam.
Also, it's a lot more efficient than riding the bus and really good for my physical and mental health.
My bike is a tank, weighing in at 42lbs and very solid. I sit upright as I ride it and it feels tremendously safe. However, I managed to tip it over while riding a couple of times last year. This tune-up included a new bell and fenders because mine were broken and they fixed the built-in basket which had been bent out of shape when I fell.
As he was bringing me my bike, the mechanic - usually polite but terse - asked, "Do you have kids?"
Surprised, I answered in the affirmative.
"Do you lend them your bike?"
"Because it was pretty banged up. It's usually kids who do that."
I admitted sheepishly that I was the one who had fallen and done the damage. I was tempted to just leave it at that but added, "It turned out that I had a brain tumour that affected my balance. The tumour is gone now and my balance is OK."
Without missing beat, the guy lifted his hand into the air. We bumped fists. I smiled widely, paid my bill and rode home with a light heart.
Some people know exactly what to say - even when they don't use words.