So I have a bicycle now.
I'd been telling a guy that I know that I was going to buy his mountain bike for some time now. I know nothing of bicycles but I know that this guy is a hard-core bike rider, so I know that he's chosen a good one and taken care of it. I've been wanting to get one for a while just to ride to stay in shape, and he really needed the money so I took it off his hands. Thing is, I haven't ridden a bicycle in at least twenty years, and the last time I did, I had two legs. But what the hell, eh?
I took it out the first day, and I was amazed at how easy the gearing made it to ride up hills in the local neighborhoods. I was a bit wobbly at first--ok, more than a bit--but I managed to get three miles down before my non-bike-riding body told me that it had had about enough of the pedaling and that seat. I gave it a day and took it out again yesterday for a bit longer ride. B y the end of that one, I was feeling pretty comfortable with it.
So today was the first "real" ride. I took it to Harpers Ferry and got it onto the C&O Canal towpath. Then I headed east along the Potomac River, riding it to Brunswick, Maryland, six miles away.
As it was a nice day, the towpath had quite a number of bike riders, runners and walkers on it. I quickly learned to call out to everyone that I approached that I'd be passing on the left. I also noticed that 19 out of 20 other riders seemed to be wearing bike helmets. OK, the last time I was on a bike, I don't think that the bike helmet had even been invented yet. So what's the deal, and why does everyone seem to have one? It's not a law or something that you have to have one now, is it? Clearly I have much to learn. And I guess I need to start wearing the helmet that my friend threw in with the bike.
Here's one of the locks that used to raise and lower the canal boats. This is Lock #31 just west of Brunswick. The old house is where the lock keeper and his family used to live.
I made it into Brunswick in about half an hour...not bad for someone who hasn't ridden a bike in a ton of years. I had lunch at as little restaurant where everyone seemed to know each other--and one was actually named "Bubba"--and then I rode back, making the return trip in 28 minutes.
This is the view of the towpath and canal remnants approaching the Harpers Ferry trestle. It's amazing to think that the entire canal was dug by hand and all those rocks were put in place the same way, and that it was done over 184 miles from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC, mostly by indentured workers and rented slaves.
Total miles ridden today: Twelve. I like this bike, and I think I'm going to like riding it. The only downside to the day was being here at Harpers Ferry without Lagniappe. We've always walked or run the towpath together and it kind of felt like I was cheating on him being out here by myself. But I know that I've got to stay fit and the only way to do it is to keep exercising. Much as I liked the bike ride though, it just wasn't the same without my buddy.
Here he is, back at the Lair, laying on the deck and surveying his realm...and probably wondering when he's going to get another biscuit or dish of ice cream.