View from a Bicycle

ID-10045353Image courtesy of dan /

If you are bicycling in a big city, you may be able to get there faster than if you were driving a car! But in order to do so, a lot of bicyclists disobey traffic laws, causing unnecessary danger to themselves and to others. So as one bicyclist to another, please be careful, and please obey traffic laws so motorists and pedestrians know what to expect!  Thank you!  Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now.  Sorry — it just had to be said.

At the moment, I am staying in Chicago for a short time, and am here without my bicycle.  The picture above is repeated all over the city — there are a lot of bicycles which can be rented. Most residents that ride have their own bicycles, but it’s nice to know that guests of the city have the option of seeing Chicago via bicycle!

The view from a bicycle tends to be more leisurely than any other form of transportation other than walking, without quite as slow a pace (and creates its own breeze, an added bonus).  It means you can “study” anything you find interesting in your surrounding as you pass by.  I particularly enjoy watching and interacting with horses, cattle, goats, or pretty much any other farm animal except for dogs.  Any bicyclist can tell you that a dog is NOT the bicyclist’s best friend — just the opposite, in fact.  But with that exception, I’ve enjoyed both farm animals and even many wild animals.  Snakes on the road can be a bit scarey, but I’ve even accidentally ridden over a couple without harm to them or me — but still not recommended!  I’ve enjoyed watching wild peacocks, deer, foxes, turtles, armadillos, and numerous other animals.  Haven’t met up with any bears, but hopefully, never will!  Don’t know how they feel about bicycles!

Whatever animals may be along the route you choose to ride, there are also many other things to see, like interesting architecture (true in the country, as well as the city).  Watching construction is one of my passions, so I often swing past places to watch the progress, and often take a drink / snack break in order to study in a little more detail what is being done, and in what order.  As a female, I do NOT enjoy riding past road construction, though!  It’s not worth the cat calls!  So those I avoid during their work hours, if possible.  Flora and fawna (flowers and plants), however, are also interesting.  I love the red clover we have in Florida in the Spring, among many other flowers.  Each region of the country has its local flowers and wild flowers that bloom at various times of the year.  Even if I’m allergic to something, it passes quickly enough that I don’t have a major attack, though pine trees become a bit of a problem for me in the Spring pretty much anywhere in the country!

It is important to have adequate food and beverage along, no matter how long or short the ride.  I recommend water or flavored water, at room temperature for drinks.  A lot of people recommend sports drinks, but I reserve those for stops on long rides (15 or more miles), to replace some electrolytes.  I carry my water in a bladder on my back, but some people prefer other methods — whatever you are most comfortable with is what you should do.  Just make sure your drinks are readily accessible (you should NOT have to stop in order to take a drink), and drink a LOT during your ride!

Snacks need to be nutritious and provide plenty of energy.  Most people eat energy bars and/or bananas.  I am now eating grain-free, so just take bananas and home-made trail mix, making sure to include some dark chocolate as part of the mix.  That provides a light-enough snack to carry and is simple to prepare and eat at stops along the road.  The evening meal after a long ride needs to be hearty with lots of nutrition and electrolytes.  Spaghetti is one of the favorite among group ride promoters and bicyclists alike.  Even for those of us who eat grain-free, this is a good choice, because we can simply eliminate the spaghetti and just eat the sauce and most of the sides!

Weather should be good pretty much anywhere in the USA now for bicycling.  If you haven’t gotten outside to exercise yet, now would be a good time to get started!  I’m looking forward to going back to Florida in the near future, and will make an extra effort to get on my bicycle while I am there!  I can almost taste the air and feel the sweat run down my back — yep, looking forward to it!



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