Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bringing the bike outdoors

A morning ride in the chilly Oregon air. Long overdue! I’m reminded of so many things I’ve been missing by not riding outside lately. The schedule just hasn't allowed much opportunity to ride during the daylight.
A little climb, a little descent, how differently a real bike handles than the one I've been riding indoors.
A waft of wood smoke lingers in the air from a nearby fireplace, followed by the welcome smell of breakfast being served up at local restaurants.
Only a handful of cars are out so far. For a little while, I can pretend that I really do own Twelfth Street, and I go careening down the middle of the car lane on Morningside Hill.  The speed and the cold air make my eyes water.
Those chaotic, scary intersections we all know about are no problem when the cars aren’t out.  I easily pass through one of them and turn toward downtown.
Walkers and joggers are already out along the Riverfront. Most of them say “good morning” to you, and they smile.
I stop down at the river’s edge.  Fifty yards away, a great blue heron is perched in a tree.  I wait for that magical moment when he stretches out his massive wings to fly over the water, but he wins our little waiting game.  This time.
Riding indoors has been valuable. It’s good for conditionining, but it’s not riding, really. Braking, steering, leaning, interacting with the world...most of the best parts of riding simply don’t happen on an indoor bike.
Heading back for home, I’m already thinking about tomorrow’s ride.

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