Now, just biking across town is a challenge on my one-speed, fat-tire beach bike. My quads have grown lax from months of nursing a broken foot, and yes, I admit it, retirement. It's easy to get comfortable--in bed, on the sofa, at the dining room table--and let the days wither away. It takes discipline to tackle your TO DO list, let alone exercise.
Financial incentives aside, cycling is more interesting than treadmills and ellipticals. Mid-day, with light traffic, I can get from Eastern Market to Farragut West in a half hour riding very fast, or an hour at a leisurely pace, taking in the sights. I am one of the few cyclists who stops for red lights on the cross-town bike lane on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Capitol in the background. The others are probably racing to work. Being unemployed, I can relish the journey.
I don't remember the other bikers, except Tim (above), who I had a crush on. (He married Rose, another biker.) Wheeling across the state of Georgia, we stopped in Plains to chat with Billy Carter, the President's brother. Remember Billy Beer? We finished at Jekyll Island on the coast.
We sometimes traveled to our starting point in an RV, which also served as sag wagon. On a Florida trip, after getting stuck in toe straps and going down, crushing an elbow, I drove the RV for a week--with one arm. It was more fun than riding the bike!
Tracksuits were all the rage, at least in Michigan. My orange tracksuit matched my bike.
I groused about wind and rain. I could change tires in 10 minutes and carried tools for repairing spokes and chains. At times, the bike was loaded with camping gear. Regardless of weight, I always struggled to keep up. Sometimes, I cried--from frustration, exhaustion, loneliness, pain.
Now, I carry only a U-lock, I ride alone, and my itinerary is flexible: a doctor's appointment, a downtown errand, a visit to the "modern" art at the renovated Renwick.
On a windy or rainy day, I can fall back on taking Metro.
Yes, I'm back in the saddle again. A few times a week, a few miles at a time. No rivers in Germany, no tents, no wolfing down energy bars. Just a leisurely day, some sunshine, and my wheels going round and round.