'Bent Miles, An Online Bike Touring Magazine
Kira's Cycling Expedition for Charities.
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March 2005 Volume2 Issue 8
On February 23, 2005 my alarm went off at its usual workday time, 0500. However, while in the tub, I heard Dolores answer the phone. It had been snowing all weekend and some days of the previous week. Monday had been Presidents' Day and all government workers had enjoyed it as a holiday. It had been snowing Tuesday and it must have snowed all night that night. I awoke to about three inches of snow on my sidewalk, and we had a snow day.
It was unclear as to if we should try to come into work or not; but, the roads were so bad, I'd never make it off the hill that early in the morning. So, I fixed Nolan a toaster waffle and two links of sausage. I fixed me coffee, two sausage links, and three strips of bacon with three eggs. Wait, wait, at least, I made my toast from mixed all grain bread.
By 0920, I was costing out of the driveway. I looked at my computer and I was doing 28 mph. Looking down the hill, I just had to stop and snap a picture of God's wonderful creation. Then it was on down to the main street. I swung right for about a half a block and the left toward the river. The entrance to the secondary bike trail is a hard right. Swinging around the curve the trike fishtailed to the left and felt like it was going to turn over. Pulling to the left into the skid straightened it, and I was on my way to the main bike trail.
I had seen a jogger pass the intersection just before my skidding turn. She was just up ahead. I stopped and shot a picture. It wasn't long before I realized I was not going to catch up because where she went straight, I was going left. With long biking pants and jogging pants on top of them and layered uppers, I was just fine, with the exception of my right eye socket and sinus. The cold air rushing past was making me take notice of afore mentioned ill spots.
Pumping further the pain left me; I hollered out a thanks to God for the beauty He was allowing me to experience and the trike with which He had blessed me. Soon the wall to the Catholic Monastery came into view. The hollering voices of the children soon revealed that there was no snow day for those cherubs.
I snapped pictures of bikes around the bike rack just to prove to you that these are some serious riders over here. A bike for a European is just another way of clean and cheap transportation. I noticed something unusual. The gate through the wall that has protected this town both from the river and enemies for centuries was open.
Oooh...should I? I suppose an open door or gate is just an invitation. Through it, I ventured carefully stepping into the shallow cavity, up the iced and slick century worn steps to a courtyard. It was a courtyard with three boys throwing snowballs high up onto the walls. This was an apparent attempt at seeing just how close each could get to the glass windows of the building that housed the offices of some of the nuns. I snapped their pictures; they were caught red-handed.
Then I turned my attention to the fun filled sounds of younger children at play to my left. The teachers looked up and saw me snapping pictures without the learned suspicion that would have been returned by most Americans. I snapped a few pictures and eased out of the courtyard, back down the stairs, through the centuries old wall and back onto my trusty metal steed.
I was meeting a few brave harts on the trail. They were braver than I because they only had two wheels as compared to my three. More serious and careful pedaling brought me to the spring that pours out of the side of the hill and spills across the bike trail. A cold and lonely bird was resting and taking in drinks of this fine cold, freezing, yet not frozen, liquid. It seemed to be too cold to want to fly. But, after it got tired of me taking picture after picture, it did finally hop up the side of the hill and eventually took flight to the nearest tree.
Approaching the wall around the water treatment plant, I met another bike rider and looking to my left saw a barge parked near the gravel plant on the other side of the river. Looking at the beauty that God created momentarily drew my attention from the barge. Its movement regained my attention and it wasn't long before I saw it pulling ahead of me going up river.
Pedaling along the same path that had been so green only a few months ago was beatified by God's great hand. Though green is beautiful and a welcome reprieve from winter's cold grasp, God has a way of painting a scene of white that is literally breathtaking. It wasn't long before I was reminded that American's are not the only ones who think a little snow is much more appreciated outside than from the classroom window. Up ahead, I could hear the sounds of children hard at play.
Now, whither or not they had been legally excused by the school officials or had just been allowed by mom and dad to take the day off was not clear. But what was clear was the fact that the moms and dads who accompanied them seemed to be having only a little less fun than the youngsters who were sliding down the snowy embankments along the bike path.
After a few shots it was on past the soccer field, through the fair grounds and a swing to the right uphill to the city sidewalk toward the cobbled stoned footbridge, called the "All Saints Bridge". This is the location of one of my regular coffee, and if Nolan is with me ice-cream, stops.
Darting in and out among pedestrians, I swung left facing the front of the shop's plate-glass window. After setting both brakes, I pulled off my left glove without even thinking. By the time I heard the thud and crash, it was too late. The watch that I almost lost on a previous trip, the one that means so much to me because my daughter gave it to me as a Christmas gift before my grandson was born, lay on the cobble stones, face down. Picking it up and turning the crystal face up, I was sickened by the ugly gash that had appeared on the face. The second hand had stopped; the break was clean through to the face.
Putting the watch into my coat pocket, I opened the door into the shop that my daughter had introduced me to on one of our bike rides several years ago. I pulled off my glasses to clean off the condensation. Looking around, I spotted a table I wanted on the raised platform near the window where I could watch my trike. However, before I could get my glasses back on another fellow moved ahead of me and took it. "Oh well, what next?" I thought as I took up a seat down stream from two smokers.
However, before I could even get comfortable, the two smokers, paid and left. I immediately took up residence at their former table, with trash and all. The waitress waited on the man who had taken the table ahead of me. Another couple came in; she waited on them. It was not long before this was just about to get my goat. After another such incident, I raised my had and got her attention. From the rubbish on the table, she had assumed I had consumed my order and was just sitting and enjoying the foul smelling, cigarette and ash filled ashtray that had been left by the former residents.
After taking my order, she removed all of the former customers' residue, to include the still unwrapped and un eaten cookies that would have went so well with my large cup of coffee. After eating the single cookie that came with my coffee, I called a friend of mine. He said that he was walking in the woods and of course the snow was as thick as a blanket.
I looked outside, the streets looked like they were getting passable and I could likely get to work in my car. I finished my order and called my wife. Then it was back onto Tweety and down the snow covered bike trail. By the time I got home, the streets were well passed drivable. I had lunch and headed to work.
All in all, it was a great ride with the exception of my broken watch. Dolores bought me another, not as expensive as my original, but it does the job.