OUTDOORS VIRGINIA

Springing forward

March 11, 2013

riding around town riding around town riding around town riding around town riding around town riding around town

My bike was given to me as a birthday gift many years ago when I was living in SF and thought it would be nice to commute to work via bike. I requested something inexpensive knowing full-well that the lifespan of a bike in SF was pretty short. What I received was this behemoth of a bike with a seat as soft as concrete and handlebars that feel like razor blades. Sure it looks cute, but in terms of function it’s like using a horse and plow for farming instead of a tractor.

There are apparently seven gears which is the most laughable thing ever. I’ve never taken it off first. It’s neither a commuter bike (try lugging that 100lb bike up and down the subway stairs or even FITTING the handlebars through the subway car’s doors) nor a trail bike (I still laugh thinking of the steep muddy trails I have willed this bike on), though I have used it for both. It was made for one thing, and one thing only: beach boardwalk cruising.

Being that this bike was a gift, I never had the heart to sell it or give it away but I have secretly wished for it to get stolen or hit or even lost in a move. Of course it never did. Part of me hates my stupid bike, and part of me has some weird admiration for it for sticking around so long. This bike has made for some not-funny-at-the-time stories and an amazing workout. And so until the least stubborn of us gives in, I am stuck pumping the pedals for dear life as we go up the smallest of hills while Sly whizzes easily beside me.


It felt like Spring this past weekend, which was odd considering we were snowquestered just a few days ago. After spending most of the weekend hanging out on our deck with our kitties drinking coffee from our new favorite coffee shop, we were itching to put on warm weather clothes and head outdoors. We dusted off our bikes and headed back to our backyard/greenbelt trail, this time turning right instead of left.

The trail was easy (flat) at first. We crossed over a couple of bridges until we were spit out at a park that we realized was right next the small cluster of our favorite restaurants (awesome). We got lost, found the bike path, got lost again, then reconnected with the bike trail that took us past a bowling alley, a bar (yes!), a Korean market, a golf course, and then up a steep hill (not that steep but might as well have been Mount Everest for my bike). When we reached a historic civil war building, we decided to turn around but had we continued on the bike trail, we would have ridden into the old historic part of town.

Riding bikes makes us feel like kids again. As much as I’ve been loving this extra long and cold and snowy winter, I’m starting to look forward to more Spring days like this. Now we just need to put together the bike rack we received for our wedding two years ago and we will be unstoppable: my beach cruising bike can finally cruise around on the boardwalk where it belongs.

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