The Wind in my Hair – Essay from Sabine Birmann – January 2016

It took me some time to decide on an appropriate text for the turn of the year as I visualised the events of 2015, the general ones as well as my own personal experiences. However, whilst driving the car the other day a text came to mind which fits the turn of the year and seems appropriate, especially to the older ones among us, who experience fears, who became self-made prisoners, most likely without realising it…

The wind in my hair;

When I was 13 I was bored and I detected my brother’s old racing bike, of course it was much too big for me. When I stood next to it I had to tilt it because of the middle bar, but I enjoyed riding it so much, because it had got so many gears and I imagined it to be the thoroughbred I had always dreamed of, it was fast and went like a Swiss watch on the street. I think it was a good bike, though it had seen better days. Thus I started my tour from my position and cycled the three kilometers to the next village because from there went a road up to a village called Sievershausen, my real destination. It took me a strong effort to climb this hilly road, which ran straight for two kilometers, but I fought and resisted the temptation to dismount and walk, perspiring and exhausted I reached the top. The whole effort had only one purpose: Without the use of my hands I wanted to ride down the other road, a slope of five kilometers. I wanted to feel the wind in my hair, wanted to feel the wholesome fusing of my body and the bike. I wanted to trust in my body’s ease, its ability to keep balance while taking the bend, whilst passing over any bumps.

Having my arms crossed in front of my chest or letting them hang lose alongside my body was a feeling of freedom and it seemed to be a never ending ride. I remember exactly every moment and memorially travel back in time to this event of 40 years ago. I felt the warmth on my skin; I became one with everything around me: nature, the bike underneath, the here and now. Today I know it was a moment full of devotion, a moment, when everything is in its right place. No doubts, no thoughts, just the moment. In that moment it is natural concept to take the bend in a perfect balance. In that moment you have all the power, malleability and ease in the world.

Some short time later they rectified the road. The bend is gone as well as the slope. The trees, which lined the road, disappeared with the noise of chain saws. The roadside ditch is long since overgrown.

Today people consider it a taboo if you ride an unfitting bike, if you ride your bike without a helmet or without your hands on the handlebar. We think we have got freedom, but no, it has been replaced by efficiency, rationality and security. They became rare, these moments of complete devotion, of believe in your own ability and power. We do not often trust our own intuition, of when to grab the handlebar or when to let go. How often do we do something just to do it? Who is allowed to experience moments like these nowadays? Who wants to experience moments like these – nowadays? A moment in time when the only plan is to feel the wind in ones hair?

I wish you a happy new year.

Yours Sabine

Our thanks go to Yvonne for the translation!