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Riding on the River

By Robin Dearing
Note: This is a post by Lynn. The things that seem to slip to the bottom of the to-do list are the things you really don’t want to do anyway, like exercise. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know – it relieves stress, lowers your blood pressure, helps keep your weight down and just generally makes you a better use of space on the planet. I recognize that all that is true, so I do my best to try to find some time to fit it in. Lately what’s been working is a brisk 0:dark-thirty bike ride with Dan. Since school started we’ve carved out a bit of a routine that mostly works. I awake at 5:45 a.m. and stumble to the coffee pot, look outside to retrieve the paper from wherever it’s landed and try to at least scan the headlines to see what’s there that will get me riled up for the day. I squeeze into my diaper-shorts (my term for those stupid-looking padded bike pants), fill my water bottle, make Alex some breakfast to-go and throw all that in the car. Knock on Alex’s door at 6:10 and then leave the house at 6:25 to drop him at the bus stop downtown at 6:30 a.m. Let me just say here that I am extremely proud of my son for getting out the door on time every day. He is so not a morning person, but hasn’t complained a single time about facing the world while it’s still dark out. At 6:40 I arrive at the parking lot by Blockbuster to meet Dan for the trip around the river trail. When we first started this in August, it was light out and hot and buggy. Now it’s dark, and cold and the bugs have all died. (I kind of miss them for breakfast.) I start the ride by shouting, “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty!? This is to scare away the mountain lions that I know are lurking around the next bend. Dan laughs at me, which is good, because the lions will be attracted to him first. When you•ve been doing this for a couple months, you start to get to know other people who are on the trail at the same time of day. Well, you don’t really get to know them, but you look for them and give them names and personalities, and you worry about them if you don’t see them. So far, we’ve “met? Man With Two Dogs. He•s an elderly man with two small hairy dogs that look exactly alike. He only says good morning if you say it first and he’s not too smiley. Definitely not a morning person. Then there’s Man With Oxygen Tank. He is friendly guy who pushes his oxygen tank in a little stroller in front of him. Always says good morning in a cheerful voice. Then there’s Chinese Bad Dressing Lady. She wears things like a long flowered skirt with a striped top of different colors, and a big hat. I don’t know if she’s really Chinese or other Asian descent but it doesn’t really matter. She is always sweet and smiling. Lastly there’s Serious Biker Dude. He’s got a thing for Lance Armstrong and yellow jerseys. But he always shouts out “On your left!? in a friendly way before he blows past you. I wonder what our fellow trail users call us. I•m guessing Big Man on Bike With Skinny Tires and Lady With Too-Tight Diaper Shorts. Pretty soon it will be too dark in the morning to ride. I’ll miss it, and I wish my fellow trail users all the best!