I’ve spent a lot of the summer thus far on a bike, either clipped in on a hard ride, or pedaling to work, and it still doesn’t feel like enough sometimes.* Luckily though, I got in fifty miles this past weekend before the annual Michigan vacation. The grown ups pushed for an early start time Sunday morning, and I grumbled about it until we turned east over the train tracks at 7 am; with no cars on the road, and an overcast, just risen sun, the suburbs were surprisingly gorgeous.
I’ve been trying to practice better cornering all summer, but the pavement was still wet from the storms the night before so I went a little slower than normal on the turns. Contrary to popular belief, there are hills in Illinois, even if it takes a few miles to find them first. My climbing ability has risen from nonexistent to something I’m hesitantly proud of and still working on. While going through some of the steeper and faster downhills, something that still freaks me out a little bit, we found ourselves with a group of a dozen or two other cyclists. I’d never ridden with a group that large before, and found the whole thing taking the right lane over a bridge with SUVs passing us and the roar of a freight train passing underneath. A ripple of left arms went through, signaling a turn onto the rolling Bluff Road.
I’m pleased to say that, even though I felt like I was having several heart attacks, I survived well enough to push through Frontage Road faster than I ever have and then agree to the extra ten miles the Grown Ups suggested at the end. In the middle, of what was some form of slightly casual sprint for me, I had a thought: biking is kind of like life, in that it’s more fun when it’s just a little bit frightening.
*I’m back in America, if anyone didn’t know.