He looked down at the backs of his hands. The once taut skin was splotched and wrinkled, marked by veins. Several small scars ran across the brown skin of his right hand. He smiled, remembering how he got them so long ago.
He sat back in his chair, the morning paper across his knees. The sunshine was warm, and it felt good on his old body.
His mind drifted...memories of the years gone passed in his head. He was old, too old to do much else but sit now. His body was weak, but his mind was sharp and full of memories.
He had walked against the wind. He had tasted both the bitterness of defeat and the sweetness of victory. He had howled at the moon, and whimpered in the darkness. Many memories were all that he had left.
The pleasures and the pains of growing up.
His first bike.
The joys of cycling.
The freedom of the road and trail.
Falling in love for the very first time, with his best mate's sister.
The first time he had sex.
His first beer.
The first time he raced.
The hard rides.
The epic rides.
The many sports he had done over the years...and the way that he always returned to the bikes.
The crazy rides alone across hundreds of miles of red dirt, through the heart of this great country.
The nights out under the stars, freezing cold and shivering, and the blazing hot days under the relentless scorching sun.
The wonder of birth, and the tearing loss of death.
The highs and the lows of life. The happiness and the sadness, the pain and the joy.
Everyone who had contributed to his life, both good and bad.
The strangeness of being in another country.
The horrible sound that high velocity bullets make as they cut through the air close to you.
The horror of prison.
The taste of his own blood.
The ways the world had changed so much since he was a little kid.
Sitting on the gutter outside the corner shop eating an iceblock on a hot summer day.
Never wearing shoes.
Eating ripe sweet fruit straight off the tree until he could hardly move.
His first day at school.
The first girl he kissed.
His first Christmas.
The good times, and the bad times.
The great moments of history.
Armstrong on the moon.
The death of Kennedy.
Martin Luther King.
The abrasive winds of time had worn his body down. The strength and resilience had gone, sapped away over the years until he was but a shadow of his former self. Now he could barely walk, where once he could run for miles.
Yet all was not lost. He had the memories. Years and years of memories.
His train of thought was interrupted as he heard the familiar sound of the nurses approaching. Barely audible to his failing ears was another sound, a very distinctive one. He turned his head and looked towards the sound.
The sun shone on the lightweight titanium frame. He listened to the click of the King hub as they wheeled the beautiful frame on its big soft tires towards him where he sat waiting. He reached out to softly stroke the brushed titanium tubing as they came to a stop in front of him.
The two big strong male nurses carefully lifted him onto the bike. Once his helmet was properly fastened, they gave him a push off. He began to pedal, savouring the feel of the machine beneath him as he cycled slowly around the manicured grounds of the nursing home.
The grips were soft in his gnarled hands, the single gear felt just right. The wide sweep of the H-bars and the firm support of the Brooks saddle cradled him. His old knees creaked with every pedal stroke.
The bike was beautiful, a custom-made Jones. It responded to his every command.
He rode, and as he rode, he ........ remembered.
Yes...he had walked against the wind. He had walked against the wind for many years...
He was worn down, but he wasn't finished ...... yet.
He pedalled on.