At some juncture of my New York City upbringing, owning a beautiful sleek mountain bike became the big fad.
If you could afford to buy this pricey new ride, you knew enough to not ride directly from the Bike shop, home. You knew that you needed to take a slight detour down Broadway and get yourself to a hardware store ASAP. It was there that you picked up the necessary materials to give yourself at least a 5% chance of actually keeping your spanking brand new shiny Bicycle.
Armed with your shopping bag of matte grey spray paint and multiple rolls of duct tape, you could then head home to give your new beloved two-wheeled friend, a hideous make-under. The deconstruction of your hard-earned brand new Bicycle, painful as it may be, could potentially ensure you would be able to maintain a healthy, loving, and long-term relationship.
After wheeling your shiny new bike into your apartment building's freight elevator and onto the hot black tar rooftop, you had to begin the task of covering and hiding every inch of your new candy-coated beauty.
Your Bicycle's pristine body needed to be distressed and look as grey and dull as NYC street dirt. Endless rolls of duct tape were needed to wrap up, hide, and mask the pretty streamlined handlebars. Your spongey new seat would need to be thoroughly deconstructed, scraped up on the roof and beaten to a pulp. These camouflaging techniques, in addition to a few hard kicks to the tires and a badass metal chain and Kryptonite lock on deck, would maybe do the trick. You had now transformed your beautiful new Bicycle to look like an unrecognizable, undesirable, ride-on relic from a dreary post-apocalyptic world.
By the end of it all, you were staring at a different pony.
Many of us have had pockets of our lives where we have painfully covered our very own Bicycle's shine. We may not be aware, but we have often gone to great lengths to hide our greatness. We cover and protect ourselves to ensure that we won't get seen, hurt or lost or stolen. We think; maybe if I dull myself down, tape myself up, pretend I am not the beautiful shiny new Bicycle that I am, I may get loved. If I beat myself up, suppress the real me, then all the other bikes won't feel so bad. If I change myself, I'll fit in with all the other bikes on the broken rack. I won't have to show how amazing and powerful I am. I won't have to face the fear and uncertainty it may take to live to my fullest potential.
Some of us are a bicycle that chooses to shine and not hide all of its parts. You dare to go naked and be vulnerable out onto the dangerous city streets where the night Bicycle Ninja's lurk. But just as you round the corner, your wheels lock from fear, and you quickly doubt your choice to step out feeling as good as you did when you started. You may think, what was I thinking going out so exposed? Who am I to be so shiny and new? What if everyone sees my true colors and they do not like me? What if I show myself and get attacked or hurt or taken apart? What if my seat gets torn right out of my body, my gears damaged and my beaten frame gets tossed into a dumpster by the river; abandoned, devalued, and forgotten? What if I am not what I thought I was or could be?
But what if you are a bicycle that stays hidden and locked to the rack? You don't take the courageous action of riding into the unknown streets and discover the truth of how beautiful you are? How would it feel to not move? Will you regret your choice to stay hidden? Will you look back and wish you had dared to take a real ride, the ride you knew you were born to take?
We are all shiny, beautiful Bicycles. We do not need to hide our beauty or our shine or what makes us unique in this world. If we dare to be aware, to take action, set our lives in motion, feel emotion, create momentum, we can begin the journey of living infinite possibilities.
Maybe it is time that we all go higher in our freight elevator and take a bold step out onto the blazing rooftop, not a step in the direction of to hiding and covering ourselves with paint, tape, shame, and fear.
This time, on the rooftop, we can reach our arms toward the magnificent sun or underneath the expanse of magnificent stars above and shout, "I am a beautiful shiny Bicycle!".
Try it. Own it. Ride it.