Chillin With Kat
I still recall being around 5 years old and learning to ride my bike. We were at my grandparent’s house and my Dad and Grandpa were instrumental in me achieving this feat. I recall my dad holding the back of the seat running along as I pedaled and suddenly I realized he had stopped somewhere between my grandparent’s sidewalk and the neighbor’s driveway – in all probably no more than 20 feet, but it seemed like a mile to me. I recall the panic and then realized that I was riding a two wheeler ALL BY MYSELF!
Little did I know that this would be the start of a life-long love. From that red two wheeler, to my surprise birthday gift of the bike with the high rise handlebars and banana seat discovered in the back of my uncle’s car, to a couple of 10 speed bikes…..not only did they provide transportation to and from friend’s homes, but I also found it to be relaxing and always freeing. Biking was, and still is, the one thing I can do and instantly feel the cares of my world disappear.
The Right Bike
After I was divorced, I splurged and purchased a decent mountain bike. Mind you, I did not purchase it with the intention to ‘mountain bike’, but to more or less ride around my neighborhood and on flat trails. On a whim, I signed up to ride in the MS150 (a two day, 150 mile fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis). Suddenly, I had a commitment where training/riding was in my best interest and I have to admit that it did take some of the fun out of it. So I rode some but it was not nearly enough to be properly trained. Needless to say, those 150 miles were very challenging on that heavy mountain bike with nubby tires….but I made it!
The next year, I signed up again though, with the encouragement of a boyfriend, I really splurged and bought a 21 speed Bianchi road bike! Sixteen years later this is still one of my prized possessions. I feel light as a feather when I ride that bike – the frame is much lighter, the clip pedals make for a more efficient ride, and the small & smooth tires are perfect for the road. So with the appropriate bike and a little more training, the MS150 was easier that year! I did the MS 150 one more year after that, but until this year, that was the last of any organized rides.
A Return to Biking
As part of my “getting me back” after my last relationship, I returned to biking. One of my girlfriends and I signed up for the Michigander, a ride organized by the Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance. The location changes each year and riders can pick from a two, six or eight day ride in Michigan. We did the two day – riding 26 miles the first day and 22 the next. This certainly wasn’t 75 miles each day, but it was perfect. We rode new trails in a gorgeous part of upper lower Michigan – the Traverse City area. It was well-organized, fun, and we met great people. In fact, we already have the dates on our calendars for next year’s ride!
At one point in my life, I sought after the challenge of conquering long distances. Having achieved that and being a little older now, I only wish to do moderate distances on enjoyable rides. Don’t get me wrong – I still like the challenge, but no longer feel I have to prove something. I guess that is one of the benefits of being fifty and fabulous, eh?
Whether riding solo or with a friend and five or twenty miles, biking always recharges me. I have seen deer, cows, horses and a variety of birds riding on bike trails – a big welcome from city living. There is something magical about the movement while one takes in the fresh air and sounds of nature. At the end of each ride, I feel refreshed, awakened, and back in touch with my core. Biking is soothing for my spirit and soul – I AM a biking warrior!
How about you? Are you a biking warrior, too?
Until next Time…
Chillin with Kat
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