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I stopped riding my bike when I was old enough to drive. In fact, I probably stopped riding my bike in the fifth grade. I don’t know why, but I suppose it has something to do with the fact that riding a bike is for “kids,” or so I thought.

Fast-forward eight years, it’s summertime and I just finished my freshman year of college at UCLA. My friend, Jessica, is visiting, and one afternoon I decided we should bike ride the Balboa peninsula. Ironically, I had never even bothered to do this – it was too touristy to be a part of my everyday life.

Hopping on the bike was not quite like I remembered. Unsteady and swerving more than just a little, I attempted to maneuver my beach cruiser onto the crowded peninsula. Once I picked up speed, my temporary panic dissolved.
In front of me lay miles of boardwalk bordered by golden sand that stretched all the way to the glistening blue ocean. This was heaven.

And it still is - every single time I go home. Biking the Balboa peninsula has become part of my ritual. It is my medicine for a headache, my pick-me-up for a not-so-great day, and something special I can do with the people I love. It does not matter whether it’s summertime and the boardwalk is crowded with tourists or if it is fall and the crisp, cool air has left the boardwalk deserted.

I have been to different states, countries, and continents, but there is no place I love more than home. And there is nothing I love more at home than riding my pink bicycle down the boardwalk. Even if for only thirty minutes, I can forget about big plans and my future, and just be. Just be in the moment. The Balboa peninsula is a special place because there - worries halt, nagging thoughts disappear, and I am completely free as I cruise down the concrete.

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