Last night I laced my shoes up, flipped on the headlight and the rear strobe light and hooked my toe underneath the pedal to roll it back to it's apex, stepped down on it with all my weight and my bike shot forward. I was off.
Carrie stayed inside with Poppy while I went for my evening ride.
My bike is what is called a "universal" which means it's not strictly street with the very skinny tires nor is it a mountain bike with the knobby tires used for off road riding. The tires are "in between" these two and the frame and shocks are built for more comfort to the ride. You sit in a more upright position also so it's comfortable on the back. It's a Trek Navigator 100 in case you would want to Google it. I'm inserting it here and will tag this post with keywords in the event I need to find this information someday.
This bike retails for 429.00 Plus tax. I found it in Craig's list for 150.00 and gladly packed it up and brought it home. Not knowing if my bike experience is just a passing fancy, I didn't want to invest a huge chunk of change.
The ride. What can I say? Riding a bike is much like my skiing experience. It's something I can do alone and also is pleasant to have someone along but not necessary. The tires on the pavement with the whisking sound on clean roads and the crunch sound as I ride through bits of loose gravel or dirt and the quietness of my night ride is soothing. No ear buds hooked by cable to an I Pod, I circle the neighborhood and each night the ride is different. If I start at the time everyone is arriving home from work, I see the driveways with cars that were absent on my 1000hr ride. Later in the evening, should I choose to ride, families are standing in their doors waving goodbye to their grandchildren and children who may have spent the evening with their parents/grandparents. I hear them calling out their goodbyes and hear the chatter of the little ones as their parents load them into the car.
Later in the evening, the traffic in the neighborhood begins to slow down and my riding takes me barreling through those stop signs with a quick glance to right or left looking for traffic.
Riding at 2300 hrs, the neighborhood is quiet, seldom a car is seen and my ride is uninterrupted by traffic, lights are off in the houses and but for the tire sounds, it's eerily quiet. The sky last night was filled with stars, clouds scattered and sparse and the moon was waxing. In a few weeks I will be riding beneath the full moon once again. When I started this biking, there was a full moon and the street lights along with this moon lit up the night.
My skiing offered many of the same opportunities to observe. If I were skiing the mountain where I lived, I tried to be the first one on the runs. Untracked snow, I slipped down the runs, paralleled to a stop about 1/2 way down and turned to look back up the mountain. There alone were my tracks, marking my passage. The steeper the run, the more vaddling and the pattern in the snow was all mine.
It was quiet and cold and I was alone. I could hear the swish, swish , swish as my skis skimmed the surface of whiteness, see rabbit tracks beside the trail and hear the snow plop to the ground from the pine trees along the way. I enjoyed these quiet sounds alone without music or conversation from others.
The whiteness of this scene I can't explain how it felt to me. Sometimes I felt as though I were in a picture; actually inside a perfect picture of a perfect winter scene. It didn't feel real but something someone had imagined and painted and I was fortunate to be part of it. Steam escaped from my nose and mouth with each breath and I wallowed in this perfect aloneness and aliveness, knowing it wouldn't last long and the other skiers would soon follow my tracks down the mountain. I tracked first and alone and that was good enough for soon the quietness would be shattered by the laughter and shouts of others enjoying a sport that was my reason for living for the first snowfall.
As with biking, skiing was a sport I could do at will without waiting for others or depending on others to be there at a certain time. When talking to friends, I would ask "Skiing tomorrow?" and they may reply "Maybe" and to this I would say "See ya if you make it" and knowing if they didn't, it wouldn't interfere with my plans on being there.
I always feel better after biking as I did after spending all day on the slopes. I'm energized and there is a bounce in my step. Sometimes after the evening bike rides, I stumble to the shower to wash away the sweat and either recover or climb beneath the covers.
I'm glancing at my watch. It's Saturday morning and 0722 hours, the television is off and the only sound I hear is the fan kicking on to cool this laptop and the quiet tire sounds of a vehicle passing on the road outside. I'm slipping on my bike shorts, t shirt and shoes and climbing aboard that Trek Navigator to cruise the neighborhood.
I only wish you a pleasant day as the ride that I'm preparing to enjoy! Ciao (as my Italian cousins online always greet me or salute their goodbyes..)