My sister Peg and I have started biking together on the Little Miami Scenic Trail. A pleasant exercise, because it’s uninterrupted (essentially) by traffic, and is mostly a jungle-y expanse of green, all the way up to where the path crosses Rte 68 by Walt’s “Modern Used Auto Parts Recycling Center” (PC longhand for junk yard). We just do that bit right now, from town to Walt’s – about 12 miles round trip.
The first day, my legs and butt ached so much that when I finally got off the bike at home, I hobbled the first few steps like a drunk – sort of like getting off a boat and finding your land legs again. My husband Jerry (who rides about 45 miles round-trip to work most days) tells me that I’ll get used to it, but it’s still really uncomfortable sitting on the (fully padded) bike seat for that long, which I know isn’t long at all in the bike-riding scheme of things. I feel like I need marshmallows (or at least multiple slices of Wonder Bread) inside my pants!
The nice thing about this new regimen is that I’m more likely to take my bike out for more casual use, like to the PO to mail a letter. Before, for some reason, it seemed like a nuisance going back to the shed to collect the bike and accessories, as if I were walking into town to pick up my bike to ride there, instead of the actual 20 yards to the shed.
One thing that was a little strange at first – didn’t take too long to get used to, but still – was a feeling of vulnerability, like “Where’s my seatbelt??” – being totally exposed on this contraption of narrow rubber tires and fragile-looking metal bars, rails and toothpick-thin spokes. That feeling was totally unexpected. After all, I’ve been riding bicycles since I was a really little kid – even doing the “Look Ma, no hands!” thing – but ironically, after years of piloting an automobile around on a regular basis, surrounded by tons of metal and safety glass and conditioned to feel (falsely) safe in this environment by the addition of seatbelts and airbags, the freedom of tooling around unencumbered by all those trappings at first felt a little dangerous! Now I like riding the bike around, feeling the sun on my face and a warm breeze – instead of artificially conditioned air – on my skin. The trick will be to continue when the weather changes….