Remember how great it felt as a kid to ride your bike everywhere? You could cruise around your neighborhood or head to the local convenience store for candy or hot chocolate. That used to be me, but not so much lately. "Lately" as in the last, oh, 12 years or so, thanks to some medical problems.
In the Boston area, which has a lot of serious bikers, including my friend Michele, I'm late to the party. Nevertheless, as part of my new "exercise or else" program (courtesy of my doctor), I've gotten back into cycling. My old bike (a Trek from the late '80s) is still in pretty good shape, but my husband bought me a new bike from LL Bean (a Schwinn, but with the ever-lovin' Bean lifetime warranty--woohoo!) to encourage me in my biking endeavors. And fortunately, you know what they say about riding a bike, and it's largely true, thank goodness. (The same is NOT true for roller skating, btw. You CAN forget how to skate.)
Jim has become a hardcore biker in the last several weeks, a change brought on by his desire to bike to his new job in Cambridge at least part of the way each day. (The rest being covered by T and feet.) Although he's still riding his old Trek (a less theft-worthy target at the T), we're talking fenders, lights, poncho, dry bag for his work clothes, baskets, a Kryptonite lock--the whole nine yards. In typical male fashion, if there's a gadget or attachment, he'll take it. For me, my main concern was a comfier saddle, so after testing out a few possibilities, I now have a nice wide seat (for my nice wide seat, heh). The better seat has made an "oh god I have to exercise" ordeal into a "hey, if we go out NOW we can beat the rain!" hobby.
So for the last few weeks, as the weather has warmed up, we've been trying to get out somewhere at least once a weekend (mainly the Minuteman Trail, AKA "America's Most Celebrated Bike Path," but also down near Plymouth), usually with our son. Yesterday, Jim and I (sans The Boy, who was occupied elsewhere with friends) rode to the Bedford Whole Foods (about 11 miles round trip). I have to admit, I'm proud of my generally out-of-shape self making the journey with only a couple of stops along the way. Partly it's because I've been exercising more, but I also give credit to the fact that I no longer try to climb elevations in third. Ain't gonna work, people--must. down. shift. (Growing up in one of the flattest places in America--Virginia Beach--doesn't make you an expert in using those 21 gears. Pretty much one gear will do down there.)
Of course, there's the whole, virtuous "I didn't take my car to the grocery store--I came by bike!" thing. Naturally, Jim burst my bubble by adding, "So of course we probably bought produce flown in on a jumbo jet from Chile." (To which I say, "Um...what's your point?")
I know this will sound corny, but after living in the Boston 'burbs for five years now, all of a sudden I'm literally seeing things I never saw before--meadows, woods, cool neighborhoods and old shacks, athletic fields--that you can't see unless you're on one of the trails. And in Lexington, there's a really good candy store, too. So I might be late to the party, but I'll be bringing great refreshments.