Aug 31, 2014

That Heart Swelling Bike Ride.

I really need to take you on my bike ride with me. Every single time I take this bike ride I long to show it to you but since that is most likely impossible I am going to do my very best to see if I can help you to visualize it. And then you can figure out how to come and bring your bike and spend 45 blissful minutes with me.

My bike is sitting on my parents back porch. I dearly love this bike. It has a basket, it is white, and it is small. I have received several compliments on how nice this bike is but I have to tell you I do not think I understand or know what I have. You see by helping a friend in Massachusetts with her landscaping I earned this bike. Her daughter had outgrown it. But I do not know much about it other than the color and size and the few things random people have said to me about it.

As I head out the door I grab my humongous red headphones, none of that teeny tiny ear bud thing for me. Then I grab my emerald green i-pod shuffle, it would be a travesty to forget that. I can do a silent bike ride but I prefer the music in my ears as I ride. I always stand by my bike and fumble to attach the silly mini shuffle to the short sleeve of my black adidas v-neck shirt that I almost always wear when I exercise. When the shuffle is finally securely on my sleeve and my headphones on my ears I kick back the kickstand and start walking my bike.

My parents driveway is a curious thing. It comes in straight from the main road to a gate and then once you come in the gate it starts straight downhill. It is all gravel so I simply can not ride my bike straight up that gravel hill to the gate (yes, I have tried). So I grab both handlebars and push it up to the gate. Once I am at the gate I get on the bike and coast down the second half of the driveway which looks flat but when you get on a bike you realize it is not.

Once you get to the end of the driveway you are immediately on a hill. Sometimes I will go for a walk and walk up the hill from my parents house. This, my friends, is a huge steep hill and I have been known to do lunges all the way up it....because for some strange reason it is fun. Their driveway is in the middle of this massive hill. Which makes it so I have a commanding view of Cottage Grove reservoir and all the hills and trees around. But what comes up must go down so when I get to the end of the driveway and turn left I am immediately going 90 miles an hour if I am not careful. I am getting braver each time I do this. And I am starting to really fly down this hill which is probably not so good. But for now I do keep my hands firmly on both brakes most of the way down the hill. But the seconds that I let off the brakes truly are very glorious.

When I get to the bottom of the hill the road comes to a T and across the road from me is a campground for the reservoir and I have to turn right or turn left. I turn left and everything is fairly flat from here on out. I ride along the edge of the campground for maybe a half mile. I can see the lake through the trees and I can observe all the paraphernalia that people bring to go camping. It never ceases to amaze me what they set up at their campsites. Their chairs all arranged perfectly in circles around their campfire. Their tables with checkered tablecloths on them, their tents, their clotheslines, their bikes, their coolers, their lanterns sitting in the middle of their tables.  It makes me long to go camping.

As I keep pedaling along it is not long before there is nothing on either side of the road but trees or views of the lake. I take so many deep breaths because it feels so good to be riding along listening to my music. The air feels perfect. The views are really too much. Have you ever felt your heart swell because you are so content? That happens every time I go on this bike ride. How do you describe the heart swelling thing to someone? I search for the words ever single time I am on this bike ride. What are the precise words to describe that feeling?

The road goes along the edge of the reservoir and hardly any cars pass me on the road. I pedal past blackberry patches that make the air smell so amazingly sweet. I pedal past wildflowers like I have never seen before. Blue cornflowers and these low growing deep pink and light pink flowers that look a little bit like sweet peas or snapdragons and then all mixed in is Queen Anne's lace. I pedal past warm pine smell. And sometimes a waft of a campfire will mix in making my heart feel like bursting. Geesh, corny much? :) The road is perfectly smooth. That smooth road thing rarely happens in Massachusetts so I am loving it.

Soon there is a serious mountain on my left and the lake on my right and I keep wanting to stop and take pictures because every view is better than the last. But I refrain. Soon on my right is just waving deep green grass and a meandering river that is leaving the reservoir. Sometimes I see boats on this river and they remind me that I need to go try that. At one point in this part of the trip I am literally pedaling along the edge of the road and there is a steep but short hill going down to the water. I can almost see my reflection in the water it is so close. I often think about what would happen if I made one small wrong move at this part and I pedal a little faster to get past it.

When I have gone about three miles I come to another T in the road and I turn around and head back. As I go through groves of pine trees I can't help but look up at the tree tops and smile as I am biking down the middle of this tunnel. Yes, I do occasionally think about Bigfoot in this part but I quickly imagine that I do not interest him :) When I come to a break in the trees I can not help but burst into a smile again as I see the very blue lake, the opposite shore in the distance, and the mountains of trees in every direction. If there happens to be puffy clouds and clear blue sky it really is almost more than I can bear and I almost stop on the side of the road and call you.

I rode my bike in Massachusetts quite a bit and I thought I had a pretty great route but I never imagined I would have a bike ride like this. I feel very spoiled. When I get back to the end of my parents road I always stand up on the pedals and pedal for all I am worth to see how far I can make it up their hill before I die. I never stop before the edge of their neighbor Nela's fence but I have yet to make it past that point. My lungs are usually protesting at this point. So I stop, get off, and push my bike the rest of the way up the hill to my parents driveway. This part involves an embarrassingly hug amount of huffing and puffing. I can feel the burn in the spot where my bum meets the top of my leg. It makes me happy to feel that one little spot working so hard. I turn onto their driveway and still walk my bike up to their gate and then down to the house.

And that my friends is my bike ride. I try to go every day but I am not perfect at it yet. I keep forgetting to take my camera. I have lots of pictures on my phone but I can not get them onto my computer. Yeah, I do not want to talk about it :)

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