New Roads to Ride

horses by the windmillMy life has been busier then normal lately. I had some great bike rides in January but all of them were on familiar roads, mostly for the sake of transportation.

I have been itching to try out a new route and just have a day to meander around the countryside, when I woke up this morning I knew that today was the day.

Finding a route to ride, feeding and walking my dogs, getting all my gear together and eating breakfast seemed to take me forever! It never ceases to amaze me that when I need to leave for work in the morning it only takes me a half hour to get ready but on my days off it can take me a few hours before I finally drag myself out the door.

But eventually I found myself on my bike heading down the road. It was a nice, slightly sunny morning and the temperature was predicted to stay between 25-30 degrees throughout the day.

Within a few miles I was pedaling down country lanes that I have rarely, if ever, been down before. It is great fun to explore new roads, never knowing what will be around the next bend or over the next hill.river 2

After an hour and a half I took a quick stop at a convenience store to have a snack and refill my water bottle. Going back outside, I felt rather chilled and even after ten minutes of biking my body wouldn’t warm up. I hadn’t brought along extra clothes which now seemed like a grave mistake.

“Oh great,” I thought to myself. “You are in a pickle now.”

I pedaled furiously down the road trying to warm up, worrying that the reminder of my ride would be spent with cold toes and freezing fingers. But then I saw the hill. It was a great big old hill and I let out a sigh of relief, there was no way I still feel chilled at the top of that hill!

My route took me through four state forests, where there were trees, trees and more trees. I don’t think I have ever seen so many chipmunks and squirrels in my life, they were everywhere, chattering or darting across the roads. It was so quiet and calm in the woods, a perfect place to think and pray.bike on icy road

After stopping again for a bathroom break and more water, I came across my favorite road of the ride. It was a dirt road covered in ice. My studded tires seemed so delighted to sink their teeth into the icy surface. But then I came to a long downhill stretch of road where the ice was mushy and mixed with mealy snow. My tires could not find anything to grip onto as the bike started to slide feverishly down the hill. I thought I was about careen wildly off the road and crash but I reminded myself…

Relax.
Trust the bike.
Don’t you dare touch the brakes.

Once we were safely at the bottom of the hill, I let out a wild laugh. I could feel the adrenalin rush for the next several miles.

Before long my ride was almost over and I felt tired and happy, having accomplished my mission for the day. It is wonderful to know that there are so many roads in my local area that are just waiting for me to explore them.

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20 thoughts on “New Roads to Ride

    • I find it nice to have a balance between riding familiar roads that I can pedal down without giving it a second thought but then also the thrill of riding an unknown road…it felt good to have an adventure yesterday!

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  1. Ah yes, underdressing for a ride … nothing like the adrenaline you feel when you panic that this is another fine mess I got myself into … but just like everyone else, you persevered. Congrats!

    I like how you personalize everything on your bike, like when you felt your tires were happy to sink into the ice.

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    • Thanks Ron! I often find myself in worry/panic mode over the smallest things, I guess confidence will come as I get more experience in the years ahead.

      The tires really were happy to dig into that ice, they get so antsy on dry pavement! I can easily understand my tire’s moods (which I believe is a sign that I have been biking by myself for too long).

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  2. Great tale! I regularly suffer from the cold, so most of the time I end up over-dressed and have to shed clothes, but we don’t have the sort of weather you’ve shown in your pictures.

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  3. Don’t touch the brakes! I remember hitting a very large stretch of ice while riding out one cold and frosty morning. Much less experienced back then, I made that silly mistake, boy did it hurt! Enjoyed your post, cheers.

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    • Oh ouch! That is no fun! I remember falling down on a patch of ice a few years ago before I decided to bike through the winter…so when I made that decision I bought a very aggressive pair of studded tires, I didn’t want to fall again 😉

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  4. Neither do I! Luckily, it is still so very mild here in Wales, not a sign of frost, which is great for a wimp like me. Keep pedalling, and blogging.

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      • Amazingly, it was only a damp commute for me yesterday, but I achieved a first for me, thanks to your encouragement! Look, no hands! On my way in to work, I let go of the handlebars, and was riding no hands. First 15 yards or so then 30 and then 60, and so on. On the way home, it was no problem, I had to keep doing it, with a stupid smile on my face. Tremendous! Cheers.

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  5. One anti-chill strategy I’ve heard is what you discovered by accident. When you’re on a “cold” ride, if you have a choice, choose to stop for breaks at the bottom of a hill rather than the top.

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  6. I grew up in northern Wisconsin where there was snow but we always put the bikes away in the winter. You are brave to go out on icy roads where there might be traffic, and in 20 degree weather! The thought would not even occur to me. Thanks for following my blog, and btw, I think biking is a very natural time to pray too.

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