Anyone who knows me well knows that one of my favourite activities is to get on two wheels every summer, and then do things like climb Signal Hill nonstop for fun. While I am no athlete, I'm like the turtle combined with the Energizer Bunny (i.e. I don't quit, and I get there eventually). I have done a few short bike tours, and have done 120 km in a single ride, but usually it is commuting and one hour rides a few times a week, and on alternate weekends a longer joyride.
But I haven't done this in a long time and I miss it. So today I inflated my tires, got some cold water, dressed up like a chubby Lycra sausage, and went for it. It was a ninety minute ride around town without too many hills, and taking a route that avoids traffic. As soon as I got on the bike and leaned into my first corner, I started feeling really good. My body naturally and unconsciously knew how to lean and to adjust to the road, and the feeling of motion and personal control of the flowing motion of the bike felt like Nirvana.
My two favourite activities are swimming and cycling. Both are wonderful forms of exercise, and both have minimal problems related to overuse injuries or repetitive stress/impacts like running, but there is another reason to love them. It is the aesthetic and grace of the activity. I've done many things for exercise, but I cycle because I love the feel of the motion; leaning into curves, adjusting to different slopes smoothly and automatically, and the rush of the wind as you accelerate down a hill are superlative experiences. It's an addiction that is good for you, totally separate from the endorphins that eventually kick in (I've got nothing against endorphins, mind you).
My ride was about 30 km. Old Halifax in on a peninsula shaped like an arrowhead, with Point Pleasant Park at the southern tip. I basically circled the old part of the city clockwise. I visited Point Pleasant, the waterfront boardwalk downtown, then north past both the Macdonald and McKay bridges, then circled around back to the beginning, then finished with a very short hill climb up Citadel Hill (which gives a great view of the harbour and downtown). Then I coasted home, carried my bike up 5 flights of stairs, and started typing this.
BTW, the other reason to go a bike is that you get to play tourist and also see fun and unusual things. Today it was:
- a motorbike accident (not too serious, thank the Powers That Be)
- people enjoying the sun on the waterfront boardwalk
- the Newfoundland ferry Caribou having her refit in the floating dock
- people on Citadel Hill getting suntan, with some in swimsuits(!) while there's a 15 C Seabreeze
- and some people at risk from an unusual source (see below)
Now to do two more challenges:
- a shower!
- take a walk before my legs sieze up (BTW, a bath helps with this as well)
"Just a leetle closer…" (Makes me think of Gary Larsen)