slow ride

Holiday rules were in effect: start slow and ease off from there. Two hours and three minutes to ride 20.3 miles. That’s an average of 9.8 mph. I burned all of about 335 calories.

My uncle took me on a tour of the bike paths in the city where he lives, about 40 minutes north of here. My uncle rides a recumbent trike. We were joined by his oldest son, David, who rides a two-wheeled recumbent. So, as the only one riding an upright, I found myself the odd man out. (More on that in a minute.)

It was a wonderful, leisurely ride. The bike paths up there are beautiful and very well laid out. The parks department has found a way to create and develop a lot more bike path miles than one would anticipate in all the more space the city takes up, and they’ve also done a fine job of connecting them to meaningful locations in and around the city. This was my uncle’s first ride of the season, and he later told me his fastest. But he mentioned more times than I can remember how glad he was we were riding together (we haven’t done so since I was in eighth or ninth grade), and how great it felt to be out. For some perspective on that, it’s worth noting that my uncle once rode 133 miles in 9 hours on a fully loaded touring bike.

This weekend also marked our first full-fledged outing as a family on bicycles. My wife rode her Schwinn and I towed the girls in the trailer. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I was to be out there. We rode the bike path about two-and-a-half miles or so to a park, where we hung out under a shady tree and played on the jungle gym. Then we climbed back on the bikes and returned to our starting point. My oldest daughter played her harmonica along the way while the youngest fell asleep on her big sister’s shoulder. Grinning ear to ear and ringing her bell, my wife looked like kid leaving school at the start of summer recess.

In addition to all the fantastic quality time together as a family (and particularly as a family on bicycles), our short trip was also interesting with respect to seeing things from the other side of the bike lane, as it were. Here’s the deal: we rode without helmets. We rode slowly. And we rode in cotton shorts and t-shirts. We did this for a variety of reasons; whether justifiable or not is beside the point right now. Regardless, it was fascinating to observe the way other riders reacted to us, and to notice the subtle differences in my own experience of riding, of the bike path, and so on. Beg pardon my use of the hackneyed and trite aphorism, but, it’s all good.

I absolutely can’t wait for PALM. Only 26 days to go….

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