Adrenaline tingled up my spine, sweeping up through my feet like a shot of caffeine through a child. I giggled throatily, glancing back with the biggest grin I could muster to the faithful redheaded friend behind me.
We sailed down Woodland Street, following a crowd of experienced-looking cyclists through the busy Spring Street intersection. Feeling a bit fearless as we nestled safely in the throng of kindly bikers, we laughed at the stalled cars and yellow barricades leading into downtown Nashville and the Riverfront Fourth of July orchestra gathering.
Although we fancied ourselves expert city cyclists, we both knew good and well that we didn’t know the first thing about night riding; besides, we longed to tour vintage East Nashville and exercise our trend muscles.
Following the example of countless biking citizens, my friend Misty had suggested the idea of taking our first city cycle tour on her way to see Nashville’s 3rd-best-in-the-nation fireworks. I flew to my trusty Subaru, dropped down the rear passenger seats, and loaded my bike and my younger sister’s in the back.
Parking strategically for an expedient post-explosion exit on a side street, I leaped from my vehicle just in time to meet Misty and get on the road before the sun went down.
Obstacle one: my rear breaks were out. No worries, the front still worked! (My dad spent a good half hour the next day fixing those breaks; I don’t recommend speedy and careless bicycle car loadings. In fact, I recommend a bike rack.)
Our next move was to decide to pay a visit to trendy Five Points and stop in at the delectable Pied Piper Creamery to see if they had soy ice cream. They don’t.
Meanwhile, I had used my sister’s bike lock to secure our cycles at the aluminum bicycle post. Unfortunately, upon returning from a five-minute absence, I realized I had forgotten the combination. Lovely.
Unwilling to admit this fact, or rather, unaware that I had the numbers backwards, Misty and I coaxed and spun the combination lock in a myriad of directions before asking for help.
Obstacle two solution: wire cutters. Yes, I broke the unspoken sibling code of respect of personal property and asked a group of nice old men if they had wire cutters. One went to his truck, fetched a goodly pair, and took to the braided wires like a good fellow. Two men, a side hug, and less than five minutes later, our bikes were free and my heart nearly burst with excitement at the road ahead.
We returned to Woodland Street with all haste to catch the fireworks show, not really having a plan for our direction.
This directionless meander led us zooming up Woodland Street bridge, nodding to policeman running the automobile barricades, and dodging and weaving through the largest mob Nashville sees each summer. The rest is not history exactly; more like epic explosions akin to the sounds of battle.
This bicycle trip through the heart of city, enjoying the twin privileges of vehicle and pedestrian, remains one of those unforgettable road trips, one full of the charm of Nashville lying in wait for something fantastic and loud and colorful.
I beat all the traffic home that night by virtue of an early return to a car parked on a side street.
Gosh I love Nashville.