Sunday, April 26, 2009

Happy Trails

Yesterday was the first bike ride of the season. Unlike Finding Radiance Lori who biked 30 miles yesterday (you go, girl!), I did a mere 15 miles in just under an hour. But it was 15 miles of sheer delight.

Larry dug the bikes out from the corner of the garage, put air in my bike tires and asked me to take it out for a quick test ride. Larry’s three inches taller than me, but I have the “big bike” because my legs are twice as long as his. OK, maybe not twice as long, but when I ride his bike, I eat my knees.

When I got back, Larry loaded the bikes on the bike rack. (I would have helped…but…you know…I was busy documenting our first ride. Yeah, that’s it. Busy documenting our first ride.)

It’s sad that we have to drive a half hour to get to the nearest bike trail. There’s a rails-to-trails circuit in the county next to ours, but Podunkville has yet to adopt a trail system. Anytime someone tries, land owners get all up in arms and some even scatter nails on the old railroad paths. Yeah, we bike riders are a scary bunch, aren’t we?

I was so happy to see the parking lot completely full. Larry and I (well, Larry) unloaded the bikes and we hopped on our favorite section of trail.

I’m always amazed by the types of people we encounter on the bike trails. Young, old, families. From men with tattoos and facial hair wearing beaters and jeans to old men wearing golf pants and brown socks, women wearing hats with plastic flowers to women decked out in $500 spandex outfits, kids on tricycles, parents pulling carts…they’re all out on the trails and most are friendly and versed in bike etiquette. You always have those few, usually the walkers for some reason, who don’t understand that when a biker yells out “passing left” it means you have to move your ass over and stop taking up three-quarters of the trail.

This is the first bridge of many we ride over. Below is Sandy Creek.
Next we have to ride through the tunnel. I realize I live in the Appalachian Mountains and in order for railroads to work around here, they needed to go through and not up or around, the hills, but still, it’s not natural for human beings to pass through a mountain. Not to mention mountain tunnels are creepy. And cold. And dark. And this is the short one! There’s a one-mile tunnel on a different trail that I haven’t garnered the nerve to ride through yet. It’s on my to-do list this summer, though. You can’t see from end to end because of a bend so a flashlight is a must. I’ll pack a few extras, just to be sure.


Anyway, the best part of this trail is the Belmar Bridge across the Allegheny River.

Here’s Larry chasing my (used) Kleenex that flew out of my hands when I stopped to take a photo. Now that’s love.

Another creek, another trout fisherman.

This railroad car sits in the middle of nowhere. It makes me wonder what it must have been like to be a train passenger back in the 19th century and seeing these remote woods and streams for the first time.

Usually we’ll see a snake warming itself on one of the bridges, but not this time. We heard some type of kestrel, though, along with a hundred other type of birds. Do you see the two yellow stakes sticking out of the concrete at the end of the bridge? I call Larry “Frasier” whenever we have to pass between them. Remember that episode of “Frasier” in which Frasier and Niles learn to ride bicycles and Frasier keeps running into trees and mailboxes? Larry’s drawn to those yellow posts like a magnet.

Here I am at the end of the bike ride. Sweaty but happy. I was feeling kinda down when we started, a little achy, a little sorry for myself. Not entirely sure why. But the bike trail is a magic path that always leads me to a happy place.

11 comments:

  1. thanks so much for taking the time to post all the pictures - LOVED them!!!

    And I have no idea what a 'beater' is and how one wears them. Hat? shirt?

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  2. Wow, I feel like I got to ride along with you and Larry! What a wonderful place to ride - and 15 miles?!? That is impressive!

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  3. Hey, Vickie. A "beater" is NOT politically correct. It's slang for a white tank top. Ever notice on those cop shows that when they arrest a guy for domestic violence, he's either shirtless or wearing a tank? I know...it's bad, especially considering my assswad ex was a beater. I'm NOT implying, however, that men who wear white tank tops beat their wives. I wear a white tank top and I don't even kill spiders!

    Hi, Shelley! Hope you work goes well tomorrow.

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  4. Super fun pictures! I miss my bike. :(

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  5. That looks like an awesome ride! Those of us that have bike trails are very fortunate.

    You look so skinny on your bike, too! Wish I had your thighs :D

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  6. What an awesome day, a 15 mile bike ride. Nothing clears the head and soul better than the wind in your face on a great bike ride. Thanks for sharing your life with us, this post was a happy treat to read. Inspired me to pull my bike out and hope that the crazy drivers in Charlotte won't run me off the road when I hit to the streets. Thanks, you are great.

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  7. What a wonderful day! I MUST get my bike tire repaired!

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  8. I loved this post!!

    For the glimpse to the inner you.
    For the fact I felt as though I were right there with you.
    For the fact that I long to trail ride and yet am kindasorta afraid (Ill fall off and break a hip :)).

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  9. wow!! its nice to be in that place, it seems relaxing when you do your hiking or site seeing..

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  10. What a great post and loved the pictures. looked like you and Larry had a great ride.

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  11. Where's your helmet-hair, girl? You were a helmet, weren't you? (channeling my best mom's voice)

    ~Shelley S.

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