Last week I struggled to get myself to ride my bicycle to work. Granted, the length of my work day has been unpredictable, and I’m never sure when I might have to get myself to another corporate building in a neighboring city, but that wasn’t the real reason why the car was my preferred mode of travel.
It was because the car felt like my safety bubble — my cocoon.
I felt too vulnerable to be exposed to the world on a bike. I was getting run down enough at work. Could I really handle dodging cars on the road? I felt too distracted to handle an obstacle and evasion course, especially not in the dark.
I simply wanted to hide in my car with a bunch of metal (or is it plastic?) to buffer contact and noise and visibility.
I don’t know why we all feel so invisible and invincible in a car. It’s like we believe we are in our living room where it is safe to eat a snack, check messages on our phones, and pick bread crumbs out of our teeth.
Usually, when I feel afraid or too challenged by something it motivates me to do the very thing that scares the bejeebers out of me. I couldn’t figure out why what I was feeling was so different, but it was.
I couldn’t put myself in as exposed of a place as a bicycle. Or deal with the crowded situation that I might face on a train, not to mention having a stranger strike up a conversation with me about bike riding, something I usually enjoy.
But Friday was promising me sunshine and temperatures in the low seventies. I’d worked long and hard all week and I needed to do something to drive myself out of the funk I was in.
So I rode my bike to the train station before sunrise. I got to see this as I headed over the Plymouth bridge on my bike ride to work.
I stopped to take the photo, watched the waves from a fishing boat fan out towards the two sides of the river, and spent a moment enjoying the beauty before I had to get back on my bike to reach work and boot up my computer.
I had decided that after work, I would try to ride my bike the twenty miles between work and home. I tried to map out my route on Google maps but it took me to the wrong side of the river and all my dragging and reconstructing of the route to the way I wanted to go did not end up saving so I couldn’t bring up the route on my phone. I figured I’d have to wing it. How hard could that be? I’d have these wonderful Mississippi River Trail signs to guide me along the route.
The trip started out beautifully in Minneapolis. I knew the streets and bike paths there.
And I picked up a short bike path in Fridley that took me down to Rice Creek.
But things quickly digressed from there. What bike paths I found were so rough and uneven, they about shook my teeth out. I ended up riding on a dirt path and across a grass field, but at one point, I completely lost any passible bike or pedestrian route and had to walk my bike in a ditch area along a busy road and then carry my bike through an underpass that was covered with so many tumbleweeds I had no idea what I was walking on. I went for about a mile that way before I found a road I could ride on.
My bike ride ended up being twenty two and a half miles because of the wrong turns I took and resulted in a massive bruise to my left upper arm and a pulled pectoral muscle from approaching the side of a bridge, having to make a ninety degree turn to hit the entrance, and too late realizing the bridge was barely passible for one pedestrian. I crashed into the railing. Sigh… But I really did like the leg imprint I ended up with. Very artistic.
Anyway, it may not sound like it, but it really was a great ride and I can’t wait to try and figure out the RIGHT route to take.
I made up for the mistakes of my Friday ride with a gentler ride at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge.
It was so peaceful and quiet there! Except when we were pedaling against the wind and it sounded like we were in a wind tunnel.
The fat tire bike I rode went pretty well through the deep sand we ran in to. I’m hoping it will do the same with snow.
I also did another kind of riding on Saturday. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any photos of Luke.
We’re both a bit bored with riding circles in an outdoor riding ring.
I’m hoping I can find a place next year connected to horse trails, preferably around Elm Creek or Crow Hassan. Anyone know of some barn openings?
Sunday I had to give my bicycle / horseback riding muscles a break and just do an easy walk with the dogs.
We’ve kind of entered that colorless, bland time of year where it’s difficult to find something fetching to photograph. So I resorted to capturing doll carnage.
To all my fellow stressed out travelers, I want to wish you health and happiness, courage and peace, and love and lasting friendship. It’s the very least I can do for you if you’ve made it this far in this post.
Have a wonderful week.
Very nice morning read to start my day! Beautiful picture of the sunrise you saw, and makes the ride a little better. In my mind I was riding right there with you.
Thanks Tami! Good to hear from you this morning!
I loved reading about your adventures with the bike ride, and am thinking I should really put air in the tires of mine and get out and explore. Had to chuckle to myself about the photos of “doll carnage”. I look forward to hearing/reading more of your adventures!
Thanks Deborah! There is something about riding a bike that makes me feel like a kid again and I love that feeling!
What an adventure! A great post, Maery. Love the Luke photos. All of your photos are great, but Luke is such a sweetheart. Love his expressions.
He is. I do wish he would quit walking towards me while I’m trying to take photos but that’s only because he loves me so much (or perhaps thinks I have another treat).
I don’t think I would have liked your bike ride home from work! You are a trooper!
Thanks Lori. I think what I am is a stubborn bugger! 🙂
Well, I’m just blown away by your courage and the way you are tackling this bike riding … I would have been a cry baby early on. But I was happy to see pics of your pups & Luke again! Steady as she goes, friend.
Susan, I like an adventury challenge. There were a few moments of frustration but also times when I stood on the side of the road giggling at the humor of the situation.
What a fabulous story. I agree I feel safe and cocooned in my car when traveling to work. And brave you to find that route, to find your way and lean into the adventure.