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7 April 2002

Just about a year ago (well, eleven months ago), we were on a boat cruising up the Thames from London to Oxford. It was a leisurely trip and we had time to enjoy the flora and fauna, watch the swans gliding by, enjoy the fields of buttercup yellow, occasionally pass another boat and wave a cheery greeting to its occupants.

When we reached Oxford, we returned to London by train. On that return trip, we zipped through many same towns through which we had glided on our 8 day river trip, and I marveled at how different the towns looked from the "business end." We saw the industrial side, the work-a-day world, people hurrying on about their business. Occasionally we would cross over the river and off in the distance I could see another boat slowly meandering up or down river and I missed the slower pace, the chance to see life from the other side.

That's kind of how I've felt in the last two days. I'm discovering that biking is like stepping into a whole new world.

oliviacovell.JPG (28379 bytes)On Friday, Olivia came here to Davis. This is, after all, the "city of bicycles" and it seemed a good place to do some biking. I knew that near our house was a greenbelt--I had passed it many times in the nearly 30 years we have lived here. I thought perhaps we could do some biking along the greenbelt, away from the traffic. In truth, I didn't know where it went or if there was enough area to really make it worth our while. I did some driving around to investigate the day before, but you couldn't get to most of the greenbelt area, only to the edges.

And so we set off to explore. What I discovered, as we eased our bikes onto the bike path, was that there was a whole other side to Davis that I never dreamed existed. Not only was there enough area for us to get in a good ride, there was more than enough and we ended up leaving the path before we had made a full circle because I wasn't entirely sure where I was, we had already been out for a hour and I was not sure how long it would take us to get back home from where we were.

It was a delightful ride. It was sunny, with a hint of a breeze to keep us cool. The trail wound around lovely parks and past beautiful homes. The smell of the spring flowers was everywhere. We discovered interesting sculptures and even a duck pond I had no clue existed. I even took a deep breath, downshifted, and made it up my first hill. OK--so it was a tiny hill and the angle wasn't very steep--but I did it.

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The day could not have been more lovely--or more perfect for us to continue the newbie phase of bicycle riding.

Then today, I drove to Walnut Creek to meet Haggie. Olivia was unable to join us, so we were on our own. We met at a park with a very nice bike trail that was mostly flat (we won't talk about that damn bridge). The path was full of walkers, bikers, dogs, kids, etc. It gave us plenty of opportunity to practice control of our bikes and to learn to call out "On your left!" as we passed slower travelers. We rode along a drainage canal and off way to hell and gone to a street that was almost like a mini freeway, where the bike trail seemed to go on forever. By this time we'd been out an hour, so I suggested that since it would take us another hour to get back, that we turn around, which we did.  On the way back, Haggie nearly wiped out a blind woman and her dog but, as I told her, at least the woman couldn't see the look of stark terror on Haggie's face as she swerved to miss her.  (My own look of terror had come a few minutes earlier as I nearly ploughed into a fence, and then when I was trying to cross a very busy thoroughfare and couldn't get the bike into gear. as I watched the approaching line of traffic headed in my direction.)

On our way back, we stopped at a park for lunch and Haggie took some movies (which, if I can ever get them loaded somewhere, I will try to link to--nothing spectacular, but it adds another interesting note to this journal!)

hag1.JPG (32062 bytes)When we got back to the path to the parking lot, we decided we weren't quite ready to call it quits, so we pedaled off in the other direction to the end of the footpath. The weather was glorious and we were biking under the watchful gaze of Mt. Diablo off in the distance.    We rode along the canal to the end of this portion of the trail, and then stood there looking at the mountain, talking about what an nice day it had been, while Haggie diddled her seat.  (uh...that would be her bicycle seat)

By the time we finally returned to the cars, we both were suffering from spaghetti leg, and the sight of our two vehicles off in the distance was a most welcome one. I just received an e-mail from Haggie telling me that she checked the bike path map and near as she can tell, we biked 12 miles today.

According to her journal, "For you locals, we met at Heather Farm Park and took the Contra Costa Canal Trail to the Iron Horse Trail. We rode that through Walnut Creek to the Rudgear exit at 680. We turned around there and retraced our route back to the Canal Trail, where we rode up to Oak Grove Rd before turning around and going back to Heather Farm Park. According to the map, we went around 12 miles.

My knees know it. My back knows it, and the pink in my face tells me that I was out in the sun for a long time. But the whole day was just absolutely perfect. I can hardly wait to do it all again.

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Quote of the Day

The blessed contagion of cheerfulness is a good contagion to spread.

-J.H. Johnson


One Year Ago
Ready or Not, Here I Come

Two Years Ago
Me and Granny Muffin

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