Today was gorgeous. Sunny and hot, but not sweltering. Getting the paper at the front door in the morning, I glanced down at my long neglected bike. The accumulated guilt made me decide to take action. So I finally got around to pumping up the tires on the trusty old steed, and cleaning off the accumulated grime of the past 10 months or so since I had last ridden it. The handle grips were flecked with the golden pollen that had coated my car for a few weeks earlier in the spring. The dust was embarrassingly thick and I fell to with enthusiasm with a hot sudsy bucket of water and an assortment of sponges and brushes. Soon it was gleaming again in the sunlight as I prepared to go for a ride.
This meant I had to find the panier, the key to the lock, get a water bottle, and grab the helmet. I retrieved the cycling shoes from the bottom of the shoe pile, and soon I was out the door. Living up a hillside like I do, bicycle trips always start with an exhilarating launch into a high speed getaway which is halted all too soon by the busy secondary street at the end of the block. A few blocks along and I was able to get on to the regional trail system, which uses disused railroad right-of-ways to move cyclists and pedestrians and boarders and even the odd unicyclist across town while avoiding vehicular traffic.
The bike was in pretty good shape all things considered, and I was feeling good as well. All the Bowflex sessions had indeed paid off, I thought to myself, as I powered along. I had almost forgotten how beautiful the trail can be, and much of it just a few meters away from major traffic arteries. Craggy bluffs overlooking Portage Inlet gave way to urban backyards and later, the green trees that girdle Swan Lake, all flew by as I geared up and geared down and reclaimed the pleasure of a summer day’s bike ride. The feel of the wind, the immediacy of it all, and the very fact it’s a human powered mode of transport all conspire to make cycling a great, and cheap thrill.
I stopped on the far side of Blenkinsop Lake, which the trail traverses by way of a long boardwalk. At one point, there is a nice bronze statue of an older gent who is looking happily at the view, and of course he happens to be the farmer who lived over in that general direction. What’s wrong with a little sentimentality in public art, anyway? I turned around and headed back home, reveling in the pure unadulterated pleasure of the ride.