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Old 09-26-06, 06:30 AM   #1
ticwanos
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The Joy of Biking

FINALLY we are blessed with ideal weather in Dallas, low 60s to low 80s, minimal wind, sunshine following a day of moderate rain. Perfect. Yesterday my beloved, who is not a hardcore cyclist, suggested we do the loop around White Rock Lake. Of course, I jumped at the chance to take a ramble with her and had the bikes in the car before she could change her mind. A little treasure in the middle of the metro area, White Rock is a multiuse path with everyone from hard core roadies in full kit, to young mothers strolling with carriages, field trips of seniors (the REAL seniors) on walkers and folks on every kind of bike imaginable. Even though it was Monday morning I was still surprised to see so few people out taking advantage of the weather. On Saturdays and Sundays the trail is so packed it is almost like riding in rush hour traffic and can be quite intense, but yesterday it was mellow. People took the opportunity to look each other in the eyes and actually smile at each other, say hello and wave. Which brings me around to my point (occasionally I do have one). Since I was able to see faces for a change, I could read expressions and play armchair (bike seat?) psychologist. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't see anyone who looked unhappy. It was truly a day for bliss after the scorching summer we had. Everyone radiated pleasure, but I noticed there was one subgroup of the cyclists whose faces were rapturous, beaming with an inner light, and that was the people wobbling along the trail on old comfort cruisers, just taking in the scenery, enjoying the moment. Lately, I have found myself with the mindset of trying to go farther and faster than I have before, always wanting to push myself to a higher level of performance, tweaking that edge. I won't stop trying to improve my skills and fitness, but yesterday I was reminded of a different dimension I was in danger of forgetting. These bikes of ours really can translate "energy into joy", and yesterday I saw the least "serious" cyclists on the road doing just that. I slowed down and just savored the moment and felt my smile get even bigger. A perfect, joyous day.
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Old 09-26-06, 06:35 AM   #2
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Sometimes, it does seem like you never get a day's worth of weather. Last Sunday, I didn't know how to act. I wasn't sweating and didn't need to drink every 5 minutes. It was weird.

Plus, it was "big sky" day. I felt like the countryside was somekind of landscape portrait out of travel book.
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Old 09-26-06, 07:14 AM   #3
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Lately, I have been pushing myself one day and then kind of just enjoying myself the next. This schedule seems to help my muscles recover between intense days. Yesterday was an enjoyment day. At one point my shadow was leading the way for me. The sun was brilliantly illuminating the leaves which have started to turn here. The golds, yellows and reds seemingly bursting forth in the sun. I love the sound of dry leaves scrunching beneath my tires, kind of a combined, quick, swish/crunch. Two farmers on my route have started waving and shouting greetings to me as though we were long lost friends. There is one beautiful chestnut colored horse who always runs up to the fence to say hello as I fight my way up the hill past its pasture fence. In all, it was a fulfilling late afternoon ride. The sort of ride we treasure in our memories on those long cold winter nights. The DOT had even filled in the worst potholes earlier in the day!

And yes, I had a blissfull happy smile on my face.
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Old 09-26-06, 12:00 PM   #4
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One of the joys is getting out with my mates for a quick 30 miles over the hills, down to a cafe for a coffee- or breakfast- and then a good push home on the MUP. The only downside is the Sunday lunch time on the MUP- Too many people- sitting in their own coccoon and not bothering about other people. I have noticed it more on the road bike as Anyone in cycling gear- in a helmet and with a good looking bike must be a racer- so I get ignored. How can you ignore a rider coming at you covered in mud-in the pouring rain and with a big grin on his face. Plus the fact that the MTB is a lot slower than the road bike.

Attitude of other MUP users is probably MY attitude.

By far the best rides are taken with a few of my neighbours. They are not cyclists- but a gentle 6 mile stroll up the Mup to a Pub for a pint, and then on the way back- Finding out that they have a lot more energy than me, and they do enjoy riding through the deep puddles and mud--Or is that the beer.
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Old 09-26-06, 01:16 PM   #5
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It was weird. Plus, it was "big sky" day.
Must be a cold front moving in from Montana...
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Old 09-26-06, 03:03 PM   #6
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The OP is a terrific example of why we get out and ride. The weather here is supposed to be ideal the next few days so I'm going to try and sneak in a couple more rides as well. I hope some of you are able to do the same!
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Old 09-26-06, 07:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam
By far the best rides are taken with a few of my neighbours. They are not cyclists- but a gentle 6 mile stroll up the Mup to a Pub for a pint, and then on the way back- Finding out that they have a lot more energy than me, and they do enjoy riding through the deep puddles and mud--Or is that the beer.

Now THAT sounds like the way to ride!
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Old 09-26-06, 07:58 PM   #8
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There are just some days when EVERYthing seems to just come together . . . blue skies, nice temps, no wind, the feeling you could go on forever, no flats (!), and perfect gear changes. Even the motorists being polite.

For the most part, they're few a far between (especially in urban areas) -- but so wonderful when one comes along.
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Old 09-27-06, 01:58 PM   #9
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I don't know about DFW area but W. TX is hot today. Ha! Who would say 90 was hot this summer. I'm looking forward to the cold front tomorrow. Predicted high of 77.
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Old 09-27-06, 03:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by stapfam
One of the joys is getting out with my mates for a quick 30 miles over the hills, down to a cafe for a coffee- or breakfast- and then a good push home on the MUP. The only downside is the Sunday lunch time on the MUP- Too many people- sitting in their own coccoon and not bothering about other people. I have noticed it more on the road bike as Anyone in cycling gear- in a helmet and with a good looking bike must be a racer- so I get ignored. How can you ignore a rider coming at you covered in mud-in the pouring rain and with a big grin on his face. Plus the fact that the MTB is a lot slower than the road bike.

Attitude of other MUP users is probably MY attitude.

By far the best rides are taken with a few of my neighbours. They are not cyclists- but a gentle 6 mile stroll up the Mup to a Pub for a pint, and then on the way back- Finding out that they have a lot more energy than me, and they do enjoy riding through the deep puddles and mud--Or is that the beer.
What are they drinking over there? Lager? Guiness?
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Old 09-27-06, 04:18 PM   #11
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What are they drinking over there? Lager? Guiness?
The great British beer is called Bitter. Not my favourite but definitley better than the gassy lager that predominates in the pubs and bars. I say not my favourite, but We have lots of small local brewers and my local one is Harveys of Lewes. The are a customer of mine in my business. Each year they sent a small barrel of beer to my company-(The barrell is a small one called a Furkin and hold 9 gallons) and it is a special brew for christmas. That is fantastic. This is a draught beer and not bottled so a lot less gas in it than bottled beers and is like nectar. Wish I could send you a sample- but I am never quick enough to get more than one glass.
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Old 09-27-06, 05:44 PM   #12
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I savor days like the one you've described. I also know they're more special because they are in contrast to the days I push to go longer and faster. I couldn't imagine an exclusive diet of either kind of ride. Nope, I need 'em both, because they go together.
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