My husband and I have taken up bike riding.
I guess I should add the adverb "again."
We have taken up bike riding, again.
Several years ago, we purchased those guaranteed-to-make-your-cycling-easier kind of bicycles. They have hand brakes, 21 possible gears, extra padded seats, handy-dandy water bottle holders and gadgets to tell you trip information. They did not come with motors. We would supply the energy to propel them.
The first few months after our purchase, we discovered the bike trails of Madison County. We worked our way up to several hours of pedaling before the legs gave out. We were on our way to becoming decent, middle-aged, low-to-average speed, short-to-medium distance, semi-casual-to-casual bike enthusiasts. Then, winter came and the bikes were put in storage.
Cold days passed and the spring thaw arrived, but our enthusiasm stayed in the deep freeze. Last summer, the only things that got exercise on our equipment were the spiders who had spun webs on the pedals. Resolve, determination, ambition, tenacity — those words that mark the extraordinary achievers were not to be found in the Amsden world of cycling. Nope, we had moved on to motorized vehicles with air conditioning and automatic transmissions.
One more candle on the birthday cake, five extra pounds and a little warning from my husband’s heart doctor have renewed our vision. Yes, we again see the light. Ah, we again have heeded the challenge. Definitely, we have taken up bike riding — again.
Challenges for summer riding include sweat dripping into your eyes, the hot sun baking your exposed skin and saturating your back and warm air caking the perspiration into layers on your brow. Lest I be a glass half full kind of rider, there is also the beauty of the landscape, the freshness of summer fragrances and many wonders available in the great outdoors. (Disingenuous? Maybe!)
However, now that fall has arrived, a few new challenges have presented themselves. Pollen, pollen and more pollen! Then there is the sun coming up later and going down earlier. We are squeezing in our cycling before hurrying off to work or after close of business hours. One night, the sun dropped before we could finish. That night, I needed a special soap to remove the bugs that had hit my human windshield.
Last week, there was the memorable evening we thought we could beat the impending weather system the local meteorologist had forecast! We chose the bike trail nearest our home. We were a little over three miles down the path when we felt a few droplets. Dew from heaven — one of those many wonders available in the great outdoors — began to fall. It rained; it poured; it drenched us. We turned our bikes back toward the car and began to pedal for all we were worth. The musical accompaniment for the Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz" played over and over in my thoughts. Soaked and exhausted, we ended another wonderful day in the world of cycling.
I suppose I should end this rant with some inspirational thought. If truth be told, I am still looking for that inspiration. Until then, I will just smile through the irony and laugh through the absurdities. Bike riding is only for the strong of heart. (Allusion intended!)
For more articles by Dr. Patti Amsden, visit sonlifechurch.org.