We started the day with gluten-free buckwheat waffles, one wheat-less recipe that my whole family enjoys. If interested, the recipe can be found here. I use honey instead of agave and add a little extra. I have used walnut oil and grapeseed oil with good results and have added a touch a cardamom. I skip the sunflower seeds They are yummy with homemade preserves and a drizzle of yogurt.
Since we went to the county fair the previous night and Josh wanted to start welding our bike rack so we can take our bikes on our Oregon Coast vacation in a couple of weeks, no big family outing was planned. We decided on our default Sunday outing and rode down to the Farmers’ Market. Josh took Ike on the Trail-a-Bike while a I trailed behind at a slower pace. We didn’t plant a garden this year, so we needed to stock up on summer greens. We also scored a bunch of cheap apricots from the corner farm stand to make jam.
We stayed just long enough to hydrate and try some black currant italian ice (made from local black currants, yum! so refreshing) then started back along the highway with my basket and Josh’s backpack full. For some reason, the trip seemed longer this time. I suppose I was just hot. I finally reached the turn and the wonderful long slope down and was enjoying the wind and the speed so much I almost forgot to be scared of possibly needing to brake fast and flying over my handlebars.
I am not going to do this again. The longer I put off writing, the less I want to do it. Ride logs should be written the same day or the next at the latest, and they definitely should not be stored up. This is an exercise to motivate not procrastinate. That leads to the opposite effect: not wanting to go for a ride because I haven’t written about the last yet. So, now, I catch up. Only two rides as it turns out but they are from a week ago. Hopefully, writing about them will free me to hop on my bike this weekend.
Except for water sports, I don’t think of exercise as a way of cooling off. Last Friday was one of the few really hot summer days we get around here. Josh came home and took Ike to go drop some crab pots and I was alone in the house sweating after a day of cleaning and rearranging furniture. I sat down to write for a few minutes and found myself pondering a bike ride as a nice way to cool down. I realized I could write more later, but if I didn’t go for ride right away, I would convince myself that it was too late or something. It was almost 8pm and there was about two hours left of light. The temperature outside was much more pleasant than inside even with all the windows open and the ceiling fan whirring. I grabbed my phone and made way to the garage and off I went to the shadiest street I know. Wow. So nice to have cool air hitting my face and flowing under my T-shirt. The little exertion I needed to expend to keep moving was minimal compared to the relief I felt as coasted down the slight inclines of the road. It was exactly what I needed.
I could have stayed in today and continued to write. I could have worked on the piece about my bike history. I could have journaled more, answered a profile questionnaire from a favorite blog, done some writing exercises, collected words. But then I thought about what I am trying to do here: not just write but ride. I am not just using this practice as a way to inspire my writing but also am using my writing to inspire my riding. I needed to get moving on my bike
It was my first aimless ride in a while. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go when I pushed my bike out of the garage. Did I want to try to tackle that hill or go on a longer ride? I decided to head down to Chimacum Corner the back way, just like our ride to the Farmers’ Market. The road in its most pleasant aspect is pure country, lots of sky and scenery. A rolling empty road, though just parallel is the much more busy thoroughfare. I dodged dragonflies and swallows, smelled the wildflowers, passed a yard full of turkeys, and felt the sunshine seep into my forearms. I wish the setting was as serene the whole way, but that road merges into the other and, after the turn at the corner market, I head back along the highway.
I didn’t stop at the market. Just continued along the highway.It would be scarier if it weren’t for the nice, wide bike lanes. There is some road work in process, but luckily not at that moment. It is a long stretch. I was getting tired. I forgot my water. It was hot but, at least, there was shade and a cool breeze. My skirt kept riding up but I was wearing leggings so I wasn’t too concerned. I kept pedaling, grateful for the flat road. Then, the turn and a glorious coast downhill. Perfect. I stopped at the library for water. My legs were sore and a little wobbly. I walked my bike for half a block for the stretch and rest before hopping back on. Just a short ride more and I was home. Almost 5 miles, my longest solo journey. I should do this 2-3 times a week. I could incorporate errands. I would like to pull Ike on his Trail-a-Bike or get some sort of passenger deck. But for now, I will keep it simple and ride.
I hate when I don’t write when the inspiration hits. Usually it is due to lack of opportunity. On Saturday, my mom came over to watch Ike (Josh was working) and I was able to ride to the 9:00 a.m. meeting at the hall. That was just the beginning a very active, fun-filled day. Already, what I was going to write about is slipping away as it the inspiration becomes more of a memory than a call to action.
The topic of the For Today reading was facing one’s fears. I was struck with the synchronicity of my bicycle journey and the journey of recovery. Biking forces me to confront many of my fears and ride through them: fear of looking good; fear of someone stealing my stuff; fear of falling, being hit by car, of getting hurt. Every time, I get on the saddle, I take action to move through my fear.
The meeting hall is in the basement of a building and is accessible in the back at the bottom of a kinda steep hill paved with gravel. In these two months that I have been riding, I have walked my bike down the hill. Too afraid of my brakes skidding and causing me to fall. When I was 10 years-old and first relearned how to ride a bike (if I ever really did know how when I was 5, maybe I always had training wheels), I ate it pretty hard on gravel, skinning my right elbow and knee. I still have faint scars. On Saturday, before reading this passage, I finally felt confidant to ride down it. I trusted myself and my bike to make it down unscathed.
I am not very inspired to write this evening but I went on a short ride this afternoon, finally, and I do not want to get behind again last week.I was on a writer’s high there for a moment and have ideas for posts, but nothing I want to flesh out now. I am using the logs as there are meant to be used, as a device to get me to show up at the page. So here I am, writing the words.
Around the corner from our house, there is a bike on a roof. I didn’t believe Ike when he first spotted it; thought it was his silly humor. Was it was just stored up there to be out-of-the-way or so it would not get stolen.? Day after day, it never moved, rain or shine. I have been meaning to take a picture of it, but kept forgetting until I had already gone past and landed at home. Today I remembered before just passing it by. There was a women in front of the house and for a moment, introvert that I am, I felt like we should just keep going. But instead I asked her about it. Turns out they found it while doing a landscaping job and had left it outside one day. When they came home it was up on the roof. Someone had played a gag on them and they never brought the bike back down. Ike thought it was silly to have a bike on a roof. It looks like a nice bike, too bad no one is riding it.
That it is today’s story, just a bike on a roof, a conversation with a neighbor, a silly picture. What absurdities have you noticed today?
It rained the past two days and I didn’t get out on the bike. Yesterday, we had a much-needed stay-at-home day after a busy week. One of the nice things about living around here, you can depend on rain coming to give you an excuse to remain indoors. I paid bills and placed some orders while Isaac built Lego spaceships and cyborgs. Today, the sun came out and I regretted not going to see Brave last night instead the planned matinée of today. But, we went anyway figuring the sun would still be shining after.
I am much more interested in the bikes I see around now that I am riding too. I find myself looking for the old roadsters, the fixies, the mixtes, and cargo bikes. The weather was so fine that there were lots of folks on bikes in town. We were in the car, however, as town is about 12 miles from where we live (I don’t usually call the area we live as a “town” though we have some necessary establishments: market, post office, library, a couple of restaurants, and a farmer’s market on Sundays). We stopped at the Food Co-op on the way home and that nagging, critic voice asked me what right I had writing a blog about biking. I am not some long-time biking activist or some touring enthusiast. But that’s just it. I am not really writing about bikes, but about the experience. I am discovering the joy of riding. I am exploring my world in a new way and feeling a little more a part of. I am basically having a change in consciousness, and I am trying to express it somehow. It is also about practice. Practice in how to keep pedaling through fear, inertia, and doubt whether on the bike, in my life, or on the page.
We came home from the movies and Josh was not feeling well. I don’t want to lose momentum nor enthusiasm. It is too easy to think, “I will go out tomorrow…tomorrow I will go on a long ride.” Ike and I jumped on the bikes. We returned a few books and a DVD to the library then took a long way home. At first, I thought it might rain again but the sun broke through the clouds and I took off my sweater. I don’t need to remind Ike to stay to the right as often and he is able to take the hills a little a better. I enjoyed the sun on my face, the sights of summer flowers, and the clicking of my bicycle chain. I feel my body move; I relax my grip on the handle bars, which I sometimes find myself holding too tightly; I watch my son pedaling in front of me and coasting down the hills. I did not experience childhood on a bike in Los Angeles. I didn’t really start to ride until I was 10 and even then, not very consistently. I feel like I am learning with him and am so grateful that he gave this gift to me.
Ike and I took a quick ride to the library to pick up books I had on hold. We had to get into town for my Coumidan appointment (a quick finger prick) and Ike’s Theater Camp. We only had about 40 minutes to complete the errand and Ike handled the rush better than a Los Angeles freeway. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about how poorly his rain boots would perform for pedaling until we were making our way up our first slight slope. They were a bit slippery and cumbersome. Even so, he did great. We made it home just in time and it was so much nicer than just stopping in the car on the way to town.
I am definitely dressing better since I started trying to bike every day. Well, at least I am getting dressed. There have been too many stay-at-home days where I just stayed in the yoga pants and T-shirt I slept in. And now, I am choosing my outfits with the focus of what I can ride in. The baggy drawstrings don’t cut it (nice for walking, but not riding unless I tame the excess around my ankles), but cute skirts and my favorite pair of skinny jeans do. So odd to say I wear skinny jeans since I am leagues away from skinny, but I’m not gonna mess with the nomenclature. I am also reverting to some styles from my past. I have always loved menswear and men’s shoes. When I was fourteen, I sported white button-downs and narrow ties, and mens’ flannel pants have always graced my closet. I recently picked up a pair of brown wing tips from the Goodwill. The are about a half-size took large, but I am probably going to add some insoles. I have tried some of the oxfords out there made for women including styles from Frye, Bass, and Born, but they were all kind of narrow and made my feet look too small. Yeah, I was down with the chunky shoe trend. I love how my wingtips look with my jeans and the beloved boyfriend sweater makes the outfit. And the price was about 5% of the price of the cheapest pair of those girlie shoes.