Monday, November 9, 2009

Not Just Real Estate, bicycling too

So, last July I bought a bike, nothing special, a Trek Hybrid (7000, if you care) and I started to ride it.

Nothing fancy, just a few miles every now and then with my wife. We'd ride bike trails on the Cape, The Minuteman trail from Cambridge to Bedford and back.........

Before I knew it, I've put over 2000 miles on the bike and when I miss a day I really do miss it.

I've gotten in the habit of doing "bike only" days where I do all my errands etc. on the bike. I do my best to work it out so that I can take the bike with me on vacations and also will organize my day around riding. I think I've moved beyond the simple "likes to ride" category and maybe embarking on a more serious jag, I call it "needs to bike."

Well, it's working! It makes me happy and I've gotten so that I can ride for upwards of two hours at a pace that I once thought was crazy. A ride of less than 15 miles is a short jaunt and hardly worth getting dressed for (to me.)

Anyway, over the last few months we have ridden a bunch of cool places. The Cape Cod Rail Trail, the Minuteman Trail (off the Bedford end to Concord Center and also Billerica.) The Ayer to South Nashua trail, the East Bay Bike Trail (East Providence to Bristol RI and back) and along the Charles River from Newton to Boston and back, including the Blue Heron trail.

Then of course there are the around town jaunts and also one of our favorite rides from East Falmouth (Central Ave.) to Woods Hole and back.

So, you get the idea. I haven't missed more than one day since the weather got nice back in June and I hope to continue to ride until the snow makes it impossible.

Which brings me to my observations.........

- Do people who ride the Minuteman at night realize that the brighter the light on their bike, the more dangerous it is for folks approaching them?

- Do folks who ride with headphones on realize that they are always in serious danger?

- Why do the folks in Ayer allow their dogs to do their business on the trail and just leave it there? Do they not get it?

- Rhode Island is leaps ahead of Massachusetts when it comes to walkers/runners/joggers and roller-bladers on the trail. They insist that they use the left hand side of the trail so they are always facing the riders. BRILLIANT! I never have to say "on your left" while on that trail. Also almost everyone you pass says Hi on the East Bay trail. Compared to that, the Minuteman Trail is like being in New York City, and I used to work there, folks are always scowling at you and just shoving past you without any eye contact.

- When will the people on the Minuteman Trail realize that walking three and four abreast is RUDE! Also the kids who hang out behind the football field in Arlington drinking beer are not cool and under age.

- I love to see young kids out riding on the trails, I can only hope that they develop a lifelong love of riding. I always wonder why their seats are so low, if they could extend their legs they might be more stable and enjoy the ride more.

- I have built blindingly bright lights for my bike, I have created a 12-volt system for it and I have a car horn if I want. I leave all that stuff at home now and rely on my skill and experience to keep me safe (hopefully).

- I would not ever ride a bike without my helmet on, not so on a motorcycle. Go figure!

- I always travel with tools, tubes and a pump. I always ask folks on the side of the road/path who are stopped if they need any assistance. So far no one has taken me up on the offer.

- We picnic often on the bikes, it's a really nice way to spend a few minutes away from the hub bub. It also helps you feel less guilty about eating the good foods. Bristol RI is one of my favorite places to picnic on the bike.

- Some folks (many folks) should not wear spandex.....EVER!

- Riding with folks who have ridden in large fundraiser rides is tedious, do they not get that I have seen the car coming from the front and the rear, long before they yell "Car Up/Car Back" This goes for folks I ride motorcycles with too, stop chatting and ride, every time to yell something you swerve and make things less safe for all.

- Riding two/three abreast on a trail so you can chat is both dangerous and inconsiderate in busy sections. Remember - "Single File and we all SMILE!"

Anyway, that's it for now, happy rolling.

- Geof

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