Me, Amy & Anne taking a break with the ducks at the flower garden near my house
“Love pushing pedals”
That’s what my friend wrote on Facebook one day. I was so excited to read her words because I love pushing pedals too.
I could spend hours riding my bike. I have done just that in the past.
When I was younger, I would ride along the lakeshore trail of our small town. I would ride so long and so far that I’d reach the next small town. I was lucky enough to grow up along the shores of Lake Ontario, in a town called Ajax, and I would bike all the way to Pickering or Oshawa. The scenery was amazing – the lake stretched all the way to the horizon with cliffs and beaches and parks and marshes to satisfy all my senses for hours on end.
And I would never feel tired. What would stop me and turn me around back home was time constraints, or thirst (I never thought to bring a water bottle), or hunger.
If I didn’t have those reminders, I would have pushed the pedals forever it seemed!
When I was really young I would ride everywhere – to friend’s houses, along the bike trails around our house, across town even when I was a preteen. My first bike was a pink “banana” bike. My Dad tested it out one day (I didn’t warn him about this picture – gotcha!).
I remember riding my bike in the town parade every year – anyone could join in and decorate their bikes and ride through town behind the floats.
For high school graduation I asked for a good bike, and that one lasted me for a few years. Early in our marriage Josh and I went to a police auction and scored two really good bikes for really cheap. Our oldest son is still riding around on one of them – a green Bianchi (sadly the other didn’t make it through one of Josh’s bike accidents a few years ago 😦 But at least Josh made it through the accident!).
I’ve tried buying a couple of bikes from Kijiji, but they don’t seem to last long or they are in such bad shape that it’s not worth it to fix them. But that green Bianchi allowed me to take the boys pedalling with me in a bike trailer until they got too big for it. Then I bought them their own sets of wheels – tricycles, then training wheels, then teaching them to find their balance on our unusually long driveway. I love all those memories of pedalling with my boys. They still join me now and then for a ride, but mostly they like to venture off on their own or with friends. I am glad for the independence that pushing pedals allows them 🙂 My oldest will be navigating a new set of wheels next year when he turns 16 – WOW! How did that happen?!
So when my friend shared her love of biking on Facebook a few months ago, I was actually really excited – a kindred spirit! I hadn’t found that many with a similar love of pushing pedals – alot of runners in my sphere of friends – and I am anything BUT a runner. I know this for a fact, and I’m comfortable sharing it with the world 🙂
I have something else to share – a dream of mine – to bike all the way across Canada one day. I have hope in realizing this dream since I know of people in their 60s who are just getting to it. I hope to live the dream before my 60s, but I know it’s still at least a couple of years out.
But a dream that big needs to be broken down into smaller dreams, beginning with bike rides that are a few hours, or a weekend, or maybe a week long.
There’s not alot of opportunities in our area for rides such as these, but there is one I’ve known about for a couple of years – the Annual Manitoulin Passage Ride. The coordinators offer route options for 32 kms a day up to 121 kms! And you can join in for just 1 day or go for the full weekend experience. The trouble was I wasn’t sure about going for this on my own.
When I saw Anne’s post, I decided to take the plunge and share the idea with her. And she loved it!
And then my friend Amy decided to join in as well!
Oh joy 🙂
Over the last few months the three of us have biked on our own, with our husbands and kids when they were willing and able ;), and even managed to meet up a few times to ride together. We all live in different towns, but only about 1/2 hour away from each other, so sometimes we could swing it. We checked out the routes that the others were biking on, and got to show off our favourite spots to ride.
Anne loves to ride along the highway, and she loves to take pictures of the scenery as she goes. She is not intimidated by long rides and dreary weather… and she finds the good and the beauty around her each time she puts her feet to the pedals.
Amy has overcome so much in her determination to get on the bike. She even rode with tires that needed a good shot of inflation for a few weeks! Nothing can stop her 🙂 She rides when she can – with kids riding alongside her, without kids, with bike trailer in tow, uphill, downhill, through gravel and bumpy roads. She is a survivor, that one.
And me… I asked everyone for bike money last year for any kind of event where people might buy me a gift – Christmas, birthday, Mother’s Day – anything. Then I went out and scored myself a purple Schwinn with shock absorbers for 1/2 price at Canadian Tire. A brand-new bike. All mine. No touchie. I have let my boys try it out briefly, then I put my arms around it to protect it from any possible threats and say “Mine!” Just kidding… mostly. I also got a water bottle holder so no more dehydration, and a little pouch that tucks under my seat to hold my car keys and phone. That way I can still be mom if needed, even when I go out for an hour or two for a ride. It gives me peace of mind.
It’s been a blast this year – being able to ride a nice bike, taking it on family vacation and testing it out on many different trails, often with at least one of my guys. Riding with friends, having that accountability, being able to look forward to realizing a dream next spring at the Manitoulin ride, discovering the MANY bike trail routes and bike events that are available within a few hour’s drive.
Thanks for those three simple words, Anne! Thanks for joining me on yet another journey, Amy! Looking forward to more biking in the future!
And maybe some cross-country skiing or snowshoeing this winter to keep us all in shape 😉