I finally have a bike to ride. Not the bike that I’ll commute on, that won’t be for another couple weeks. But a bike to ride on is finally part of my life again.

I have been doing so much research in preparation to begin bike commuting that not having a bike to ride on at all has been aggravating. Partially because reading about biking made me want to get out and do it. And also because I need to get conditioned, at least to a point, to be able to handle the almost 30 miles of riding I’ll be doing daily once I’m bike commuting.

There are other reasons to bike, of course. Pure enjoyment, seeing parts of the world that I have never had a chance to notice before.

Last night, for instance, I rode about 3 or 4 miles away, and then back. I was amazed, it was like entering a new world. I saw that there are community gardens the equivalent of 2 blocks away. That close! And I’d had absolutely no idea even though I have an intense interest in these things. It is right next door to the off leash dog park I’d noticed a couple months ago.

It isn’t a street I’ve driven more than a handful of times, is a partial reason for my ignorance, but I think it is typical the way these things are obscured from us when we speed by enclosed in metal and glass.

And wouldn’t you know, not more than another quarter mile further were yet more community gardens. These stretched for at least a mile along the nearby bike path. It was such a nice use of the land, it gave me a really good feeling about the community as a whole. And as I rode further, seeing a lush and beautiful area along a small creek, I saw signs explaining the wetlands that had been planted there for environmental and ecological reasons.

Again, the warm fuzzy feeling.

This path was pretty flat, having once been a rail road line, which is why I was able to ride a fair distance for a first bike ride in years. I got a really large reality check on my way home after turning off the trail and onto the road home.

Giant Hill.

Really really giant.

I knew as I’d gone down it that it was going to be quite something to come back up. I got maybe a tenth of the way up before I had to walk it. I didn’t mind, though my legs protested even walking up it. I feel no shame in walking a hill like that (or any hill to be honest) – what shame can there be in getting anywhere by my own steam?

So I made it up the hill, got back on my bike, and got back on the road. And a few minutes later I was home.

This hill, the giant monster hill, is something I’ll have to tackle every day coming home from work, unless I can find a way around it. I imagine it will take me months and a good set of granny gears to be able to ride it all the way up.

I don’t think I’ll mind.

red bike