Bicyclists know that the first 20 mile ride is the portal into the world of distance riding. Road bikes eat up miles like asphalt is going out of style. These are the pedal power pumpers with light weight bikes, sleek clothes, stream line helmets, padded gloves, slick sun shades and matching shoes.
They move with ease through automobile traffic. Deftly, they dodge cars, trucks and buses en route to their chosen destination. Their power strokes from their spinning legs look like a windmill.
In my season of life I am not in their league. But, it is a great activity. I have been told that bikers look at the rite of passage on road riding and universally accept this 20 mile ride as a first step.
Before I left our home I made all of the fine adjustments on my mount. I wiped my Fuji down so that it looked good. Hey, if my workout was going to be historic, I might as well look good while doing it.
It was a 3.2 mile ride to the trail head of the walk and bike path located in the George H. Bush Park. Once I entered the park, I felt the relaxation sweep over me. There was no traffic to threaten my safety.
Now, the only surroundings were trees, shrubbery and acres of grass. Deafening sounds of vehicles were gone and the songs of birds, whistling of the wind and the simple sound of my tires rolling across the asphalt trail were the peaceful reverberations of the morning. I was going to enjoy this ride.
Woods engulfed me as the trail wound through a collection of trees. Ahead the terrain turned into marshlands. A boardwalk had been built and elevated all travelers above the wet grounds below.
A stream muddy from the runoff from yesterday’s rains turned this slow body of water into chocolate milk. Resting in the middle was a large Blue Heron, stealthily hunting for its breakfast. Egrets were trying to copy this master of bill fishing.
Miles melted behind me. I was only guessing how far I had ridden. Then, a map on a board measured distances in the park. Quickly, I added up distances and realized that I could actually complete a 20 mile ride. I did. It was great. I have passed through the portal of long riders.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography