Walking to work with my bro.

DSC01813One of my younger brothers moved into his own apartment in the “big city” just a few weeks ago. Last night I called him up to ask if he would want to walk to his workplace with me the following morning. He usually drives the two miles to work but he has expressed an interest in walking so I thought maybe if I showed up it would give him a bit of motivation.

I did the calculation in my head-it is 27 miles to his house, then two miles of walking-he starts his shift at 8:00…I wanted to set my alarm to make sure we had enough time!

Walking took a little longer than we anticipated  and we ended up at his workplace at exactly 8:00. It was great spending a bit of time together, he is such a sweet guy. Maybe we will get the chance to do it again sometime!

It drizzled on the way home but the sun was shining and the smell of the fallen leaves made me smile. Then the shifting cable for my rear derailleur snapped. Yippee! For the last 15 miles of the ride  my bike was effectively a two-speed. Highest gear in the back, big or middle ring in the front. I had to climb any and all hills out of the saddle, with a painfully slow cadence.

After a few miles I went past a field with four Galloway cattle, two of them with striking white belts. Naturally, I stopped to say hi. For a while they wanted nothing to do with me, but finally, after an excessive amount of coaxing, one of them galloped clumsily toward me. The others soon followed. Awww…now I could see their adorable faces up close. Eventually, they went back to their grazing and I went on my way.DSC01741DSC01754

Five miles more and I once again stopped, this time to hang out with some gorgeous horses. They were super friendly. Every time I am around horses, especially draft horses, I am amazed at their quiet strength.

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I am a Belgian Draft Horse. I am quiet, regal and wise.

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Just kidding! I am a big clown!

The road took me past an Amish schoolhouse, where about fifteen pupils were outside playing noisily in the grass. They waved at me, smiling. Then the bell at the top of the schoolhouse began to swing back and forth.

Clang. Clang. Clang.

Recess was over. They scurried inside.

I was slowly grinding up the last hill before home when a German Shepherd rushed into the road behind me. I love dogs but I was bitten on my bike last summer. Now every time I see a dog running behind me I can’t help but be nervous. Without the use of my gears there was no way I could beat the dog up the hill, so I stopped and clipped out, ready to calm the dog down.

But I had totally misjudged the dog’s intent. She ran up to me whining and when I started petting her, she flopped to the ground and asked for a belly rub. Poor thing, I think her owners were out for the day and had left her in charge of the farm. She was lonely.

So thanks to a bunch of friendly animals, the ride home was a great one, even without gears.

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I didn’t really mean for THAT to happen.

DSC00460Before I headed out the door to go on a bike ride this morning, I had a 75 mile route all planned out. But as everyone knows sometimes life has unexpected surprises waiting for us.

As I headed down the first few roads, I couldn’t help feeling that today was gonna be a great day. But I was wrong, today turned out be a perfect day.

The weather was perfect. Forty to sixty degrees is my ideal temperature and the day started out at forty-one and never rose above much above sixty. There was a gentle spring breeze blowing and the sky was clear.DSC00429

The scenery was perfect. Everything is green! There are apple trees heavy with pink or white blossoms-everywhere! And all the little new animals were out playing in the sun! Little baby lambs! And kids (the goat kind)! And calves! And foals!

Heading home, my 75 mile route was almost complete. But then I had a thought. When was I going to have another day like this? A day to myself without commitments? A day with perfect weather?DSC00471

I just couldn’t waste the rest of the afternoon stuck inside, could I? I knew I had a meeting to attend in the evening but I still had two and a half hours until that started.

So I went for it.
100 miles.
And it worked.

And then my nice little world turned upside down.

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Here’s the deal.
This week I have been dog sitting and the owner, knowing that I was looking to buy a road bike, kindly offered me the use of her hybrid while she was away.

Did you know that there is a huge difference between riding on a mountain bike with studded tires and using a hybrid with nice gears?

Huge, huge difference.
I’ve had studded tires on my bike since the middle of November. I forgot how quiet and smooth biking can be without them.

Late this morning, I was biking back home after visiting my nieces and nephews. A gentle breeze was blowing, the sun was out and the air was warm.

Then it happened.

All of a sudden I realized I was going fast. So I started going even faster. I tore up the road with all the exuberance of a winter biker gone rogue. No studded tires, no limited gears holding me back. The hybrid had a speedometer and I kept glancing at it, unbelieving.
Is this speed for real?
Is the power I feel in my legs for real?

For twelve miles I went faster on a bike then I ever have in my life.

Fire lit.

I have passed the point of no return. I am in.

I need a road bike and I need it now.