It is spring here. There aren't leaves on the trees yet, and the wind is still cold, but the sun lasts later into the evening and I am starting to shed my layers. In the deepest parts of winter I will wear leggings under jeans, with knee socks and boots, and a tshirt under a tshirt under a sweater under a coat. I am not fucking around when it comes to preserving warmth, and I have figured out over the 10+ between me and puberty where the intersection of loathing winter and how to look like a girl with a figure—and not like a potato in shoes—while maintaining body heat lies.
In spring, my city wakes up. We shake off six months of extra layers and shimmy into skirts; we shed cold nights indoors for cool evenings in parks. Men and women eye each other up as they pass on the street because the light jackets of spring and the faces not obscured by hats and scarves are novel, and we notice just how beautiful our neighbors are. We peel back the dry onion skin of december into the flavorful moistness of march.
I am a person who opts to ride my bicycle year-round, in all instances except for when the roads are impassable due to ice, snow, or slush. My boots keep me warm and protect my clothes, and I have been known to wear a wool ski mask that hides my face. In winter, when I ride the wind stings my eyes and tears stream out of their corners, when I arrive at my final destination and take off my bag steam rises off my back. Spring is a welcome change. My hair flutters behind my ears, and I wear a single light jacket over my dress. Before summer, I still wear tights under my skirts, and their hemlines float behind me.
I love riding in the spring: I love the fresh air across my face, and I love being able to ride fast without the wind biting my ears. I race myself through my city: I stand on my pedals and lift myself off of the saddle for bumps, and shift my weight to accommodate uneven roads. I dismount my bicycle and my thighs are the same jelly as when I have been riding a man.
I wear skirts on my bicycle. They stream behind me, flying up or down in the breeze, showing off my thighs as I pass. It is thrilling to me that my disorderly clothing might provide a show to some passers by: I am quick enough that any flash is an accident and soon rectified, but the shape of my lower half is unmistakeable. I wear shirts that plunge in the front and my breasts bounce and sway with the unevenness of the perpetually badly maintained roads of my city. At the end of most rides I am acutely aware of the smell of my body, of the flex of my legs, of the bend of my back, of the soreness of my groin. It is not lost on me that a bicycle ride is not wholly unlike sex.
There was a period in my life when I had a piercing through my clitoral hood, which lasted for about a year and a half and that I then removed because it interfered with the sex I preferred to have. In spring, I will sometimes replace the jewelry for a bike ride. It has happened that I swing my leg over the top tube, hop up on my saddle, and lean forward as I start to pedal, only to notice a newer sensation. I ride to my destination, aware of a more vibratory sense in my vulva, riding faster and choosing routes that I know may be more stimulating. I avoid roads with lights and pick straightaways. I lean forward and give my quads a workout. The speed, the texture, and the public-privateness of my adventures are exhilarating: the wind over my skin and the work that I do makes me fully inhabit my body, and my ride allows me to have moments of truly unbridled happiness.
I arrive at my destination, flushed and serene. I am smiling, calm, and relaxed. My thighs quiver with every step, I am aware of the way my body moves in space and the way it feels in the world. Thoughts of things I plan to do later with a lover slink through my mind: those thoughts are simultaneously more urgent and more fantasy. The prospect of the ride home brings a tingle.
I leave my jewelry out most of the time: I don't want to become desensitized to this particular stimulation, and springtime, with its freshly uncovered skin and bold glances, is the best time of year to enjoy it.