I dared not park my butt on the couch when I arrived home from work yesterday evening. It was nearly 5:30, I was hungry and tired, but I knew that darkness was less than 90 minutes away. Instead, I quickly changed into my riding clothes, descended into my bike sanctuary (i.e. garage), donned my cycling shoes/helmet/gloves, cruised the fatty out on the street. I love that bike, adore the soothing roar of the tires on the pavement, the satisfying security of the bulk on the crushed limestone path.
Last night was warm, nearly 90 degrees, summer’s last gasp of warmth before autumn’s cool/cold takes over. I wanted to ride because I needed to ride. My bum knee barked at me all day, stiff due to a lack of proper exercise and the pounding it took during Saturday’s tennis tournament. Darkness is coming earlier and earlier each evening, so I want to get my riding in now while I can still ride without lights. It’s not that I can’t ride with lights. I do ride with lights, but it’s not my favorite thing, although riding with friends at night is a blast!
Riding in the cold isn’t a big deal, especially in the woods or on a path. I don’t really like riding a road bike in the cold — it’s more of a chore due to the exposure. Cold weather riding requires layers, however, and it takes forever just to get dressed for a cold weather ride. Think of the little brother in A Christmas Story, when he is so bundled up that he can’t get back up when he falls over. I also don’t look forward to seeing certain parts of my anatomy turn blue.
Turning the pedals last night felt wonderful. It had been over a week since I was able to ride, my riding opportunities swallowed up by my tennis obsessed friend. I have a hard time saying no when he asks to play. My goal for last night’s ride wasn’t speed, it was to soak up the scenery, enjoy the feel of the bike underneath me. It worked. The rest of my evening was better simply because the ride had been so good. I rode past the lakes at Blackwell, then through the woods and stables at St. James Farm and the open prairies of Herrick Lake. I crossed the Dupage river via the old Cenacle bridge, a peaceful and beautiful treat. I wasn’t a fast ride, but the quality was precious.
More rides await. I am ready.