Easy Rider

Taking to the road in search of freedom

By Jim Sollecito

“I just might own more bikes than anyone in the county, probably 107 at last count, including my green Fuji S-10-S Special Road Racer.”
“I just might own more bikes than anyone in the county, probably 107 at last count, including my green Fuji S-10-S Special Road Racer.”

Bicycles have long been a symbol of a simpler way of life.

They represent a time when a whole new world opened to us if we could ride a bike. As kids, switching from two feet to two wheels meant freedom.

It’s been 44 years since I was a college freshman and a bicycle was my lone means of transportation. I can visualize every part of my dorm room and the sun rising a lot earlier than my roommate. As I looked out my window, the vision of my green Fuji S-10-S Special Road Racer was good for my heart. And considering the miles I covered, it was good for my soles. I watched the seasons change as I peddled up steep inclines, appreciating the view and the cool sensation as I coasted downhill. I drank it in then and upon reflection, I appreciate it again now.

The way you think influences the way you feel and the way you act. I am realizing that I have unwittingly made it a daily goal to identify recollections that make me smile. Those buried treasures tucked away inside the brain mean more to us as we age. But let’s not miss the opportunity to build on those great memories and make fresh ones.

I just might own more bikes than anyone in the county, probably 107 at last count. I even still ride a few. With vibrant spray paint, I re-fashion old bikes that can’t be fixed and integrate them into my landscapes. Carefully positioned in outdoor landscape beds, the brilliant bikes provide an energetic pop of color and mood, especially when placed in a frequent wintertime view.

When you visit my garden center you’ll see bicycles artfully arranged and installed into our display gardens. They brighten the view from my computer desk. Glimpsing at these bikes takes me places and reminds me of people I used to know.

Combining the bikes, or any other whimsical structure, with colorful flowering shrubs creates an evolving visual story. Hydrangeas are perfect for this. Their lush green leaves back voluptuous blossoms morphing from hues of green to white and cream then to shades of blush, pink, red, maroon and purple. We offer more reliably blooming hydrangeas now than ever before. And fall will be the best and easiest time this year for planting hydrangeas or any other flowering shrub to tell your outdoor story.

Why bicycles? Aside from walking, bikes are about the most natural style of transportation. I can pedal away my cares and concerns, every pedal stroke a chance to move on, forget my worries and blend into the environment. On days I can’t ride, looking at a cheery, inspiring view allows me to get outside of my restless mind.

What is your bicycle? What is the vehicle that takes you places you’ve been meaning to go? Maybe now is the right time to get outside and smell the roses. Improve the view and your viewpoint. Some roads might be shorter than you think and easier to travel.

Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 468-1142 or jim@sollecito.com.

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