As I rode along, a lot of memories arose from this trail. When my wife and I first moved here, we would push our daughter along it in a stroller. As the kids grew bigger, I would pull one or the other along on their one-wheeled “bike” that attached to my seatpost. Later they had their own bikes to ride along. I would entice them with promises of riding through the old train tunnel and the “haunted valley”, named that by me for no reason other than to add a sense of excitement. And ice cream. There is a small shop along that section of the trail so that was always our destination.
Often, I would head out on the trail alone. But I would end up riding with one or two other riders, taking turns pulling at the front. Sometimes we would stop and chat, other times, no words were exchanged, maybe just a goodbye nod when someone cut out at an earlier trailhead. One ride I passed a younger lady looking tired as it was starting to get dark and I worried a little about her, only to discover with a glance that she had latched on and was drafting me. I gave her a wave and pulled her for several miles until she dropped off at a trailhead.
I passed houses old and new and others under construction. A golf course, through the woods, across trestle bridges over creeks far below, the playground where my kids would play when we stopped for a break, past the red caboose at another trailhead. And I realized things weren’t so bad.
I’m busy at work but I have a good job that I enjoy most of the time and I prefer to be busy than not. My daughter was already feeling better and was considering still coming home for a short visit after ten days had passed. My son had received his grades for the semester, two As and three Bs; much, much better than he’s done in the past. And all those home projects, well, once I got into them I might find I enjoyed them. Maybe.
There’s something magical about riding a bicycle that is impossible to explain. Something hidden within turning those pedals over again and again, around and around. A sense of freedom and joy and being alive in the world. I ride until I am physically tired, but my mind puts things in perspective and my body relaxes and I am rejuvenated in spirit. I’m glad I went for a ride.