When my daughter Emily was very young, she developed an affinity for the Disney character Goofy. Of course this infatuation required purchase of many Disney items featuring the image of Goofy. She had a purple sweatshirt with Goofy on the front. Yet when she pulled it out of the drawer it was too much for her to put it on. She’d kneel on the front of the Goofy sweatshirt too embarrassed by the presence of her hero to actually wear the things.
I did not recall that we actually purchased bedspreads featuring Goofy as well. Yet while cleaning out the basement during the holiday break, I pulled a giant bedspread out and was struck by the image that lay there before me. It was a big picture of Goofy on a bike!
The bedspread also featured Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse riding bikes along with a few other characters. In all those years of tucking her when she was little, it never really occurred to me that her hero would grow up to be me.
That’s right, I’m Goofy on my bike. What else can explain the bike accident I had last summer in which I ran smack into a downed tree on a straight, clear trail. I easily should have seen that coming. And yet? Too Goofy to notice I guess.
Or that other cycling accident a couple years back in which my bike started to shake and wobble at top speed. That was a real Disney moment. It threw me into a ditch where I lay looking up at the sky in stupified wonder. “Well, that was goofy,” I told myself.
It’s not that I wish similar goofy experiences on my fellow cyclists. It’s that I want you to realize that goofy things really can and do happen. And when they do, it’s best not to beat yourself up over it. If you can help it, that is.
All it takes is a momentary lack of concentration and you find yourself flying off your bike like a Disney character. Plop. Right in the ditch.
Just ask that rock star Bono, whose bicycling accident in New York City is causing him all sorts of physical problems. Apparently Bono (who sounds and looks a bit like a Disney character when you think about it) was traveling pretty fast when he crashed his bike. Recovery from bike accidents can take weeks, months, even years. There’s a chance Bono may never play guitar again.
I know from experience that a moment’s goofiness can cause great pain. But let’s not get too deep into the seriousness before we consider the absolute fun of being goofy. The cartoon embedded below is titled The Big Wash. It features Goofy setting up to wash Delorius the Elephant. This cartoon is one of my all-time favorite Goofy Disney cartoons. There’s a song in here that will leave you singing it 24/7.
The point here is that despite some of life’s more awkward moments, like the incident last night when I tripped in the garage and nearly knocked out a front tooth. Despite such naturally occurring foolishness, it is still worth it to indulge in fun activities like cycling even if they add to the risks we face in life.
Just take it from Goofy. And me. Life’s serious enough without turning your cycling into a chore or a depressing obligation. Ride hard, but don’t forget to get goofy with it once in a while. It’s worth it.
Choose some new routes before the season gets started. We’re only 60 days away from outdoor riding here in Illinois. Or so we hope. You really do have to be Goofy to go out in 40 mph winds. No doubt about that