High On Bike

A Bellinghamster On Wheels


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Two Tuesday Rides 11 Years and Miles Apart

On a gorgeous Tuesday, September 11 morning in 2001, I took off on my Canondale road bike and went for a ride just outside Nashville, TN. It was a crystal clear, sparkling diamond of day with the leaves on the trees beginning to turn. Humidity was low and, because it was early, it was relatively cool and crisp. The ride was exhilarating and I remember telling Ira upon my return home that, “I live for days like today.” The high stayed with me while we did a little grocery shopping. I don’t remember what else we had planned for the day, if anything because on the way home we heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Even then, we both thought that it had to be a private plane and decided to check out CNN when we got home. Still exhilarated from my ride, I had no idea how quickly life would change. Exhilaration to devastation in the time it took to turn on the TV. It would take me years before I would give voice to my exaltation of a gorgeous Indian summer day.

 
This past September 11 morning, I once again took off for a ride on another gorgeous Indian summer morning. The bike was different and the weather although clear and sunny was downright chilly with temperatures only in the upper 40s. The ride was no less exhilarating, however. The leaves on the trees were just beginning to turn and the sun in our Pacific Northwest sky hung a little lower giving a softer glow to the morning. As I pedaled my way through the streets and trails, I couldn’t help but think of that other morning 11 years ago, how life and country had changed. Images that were burned into my memory back then ebbed and flowed—the horror of that day while dulled by the years not forgotten.
 
I took deep breaths of cool air, felt the quickly warming sun on my face and rode with a renewed sense of strength and energy. I returned home flush from exhilaration and was able to say without guilt or superstition, “I live for days like today!”
 
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Weird Week

This past week was just plain weird for me. It started off great with a 12-mile ride last Sunday. On Monday, I went for a hike with a couple of friends who are really used to hiking and it really kicked my butt. (You can read more about that on my weight loss blog by clicking here.) I think I’m still recovering from that.
Still sore from my hike, I drove my car to the gym on Wednesday for the first time since I bought my bike and was totally frustrated because I had to find a parking place. And frankly, it just felt odd to drive there. I had a pleasant but uneventful ride to the knit shop for my knitting group. But in keeping with my bizarro week, I arrived at 9:30 and though the shop is usually open at 9:00 the owner was running late and didn’t show up until close to 10:00 so I sat on a curb outside the shop playing Angry Birds on my iPhone.
I rode to the gym and back on Friday and had a double whammy on the way home. First a squirrel ran out suddenly from the bushes right underneath my bike, grazed the front tire and leapt into the bushes on the other side of the trail before I could even register what happened. I don’t think it was hurt and thankfully, I didn’t crash. I made it to the top of the hill near home and a very nice woman stopped her car to let me cross the street on Alabama. After checking for further traffic coming from the other side, I made it halfway across when a van came barreling down. Although I had loads of time and made it well across before he even came close, he decided to scream at me anyway. Angry drivers are part of the deal when you bike but I still found it disconcerting although not as much as the squirrel incident.
Saturday was the last day of warm weather for a while and I went for a rather respectable 5-mile walk despite a sore lower back that was probably the result of my cat sleeping on it during the previous night.
I look forward to this coming week, to cool weather riding, nice drivers, and squirrels that look before they leap.

 


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All The Way Home

Today was a perfect day for a ride. Indian summer is here with warm days that aren’t too warm, cool breezes, and chilly nights. The leaves are just starting to turn and the light is different…cozier. I rode about 10 miles and was giddy for most of them.
It’s just this sort of ride that inspired my husband to design a big button to put on the back of my trunk bag. Take a look.

In essence that’s me—a happy little piggy. Don’t worry, the piggy thing isn’t derogatory. I am a self-described snork, sometimes to my own detriment, (take a look at my new blog, “Taming the Young Wildebeest”). My ringtone on Ira’s phone is the “Wee, Wee, Weeeeeee” of Maxwell the Geico piggy. Basically, Ira and I think pigs are cute. And I love my big button