Monday, December 26, 2011

Smiles and Close Calls, but so Worthwhile!

It's the day after Christmas and David had the day off!!! We had no kids with us last night, so... We slept late. We walked around the house freely and comfortably. We enjoyed a breakfast of french toast with butter and syrup and leftover brown sugar glazed ham from our holiday dinner, and sweet delicious orange juice. Then, we went outside, and we stacked more wood that was retrieved from David's brother's house in Massachusetts. And, somehow we worked together and managed to figure out how to get an extremely heavy wood stove so generously given to us off from the trailer and inside our home. It weighed a ton!

And then... we dressed in layers, with double socks and booties, and we took a 30-mile tandem ride from our home to The Brooklyn Fairgrounds and back. The sun was shining. It was a little bit windy. The temperature ranged somewhere in the area of 35 degrees to the low-forties.

David wore a Christmas gift from me. It's a Winter Thermal Fleece Jersey that I found on eBay. He was very happy with it. It kept him cozy, warm, and comfortable while riding. I was very happy to see him happy!

There are some things I especially like about tandem bicycling. People smile  when they see us! This is especially true with small children who may be playing in their yards or looking outside from a back seat window in a car going by. Some seem amazed to see a two-person bicycle. Sometimes they wave at us, and we wave back. Some just smile and stare in amazement.

Today we saw one other cyclist on the road. Had we not braked coming down a steep hill on a side road, we could have had a collision with him. But we did brake, and he waved and smiled, and yelled out to us, "Nice bike!".

Then, as we rounded a corner and worked our way up a steep hill, a motorist slowed and shouted from his car window, "Nice work!"

That has happened before. I like when people offer encouragement. Oftentimes, they give us the 'thumbs up". That same hill used to be very challenging for us, and it has become easier with practice.

It was a very good ride. We are so glad to be able to ride on the roads in December, even though we both experienced some soreness in our muscles today from not having had an opportunity to ride over the past 10 days or so.

However, on the tail end of today's ride, our positive mood was brought to a sudden moment of panic. Cycling through the small town of Moosup, a white SUV pulled up to the main road we were traveling on and barely stopped before pulling out into the road with less than a foot of space in front of us! The windows were blacked out, so we couldn't see the driver. We assumed he saw us -- he should have. David's colors were bright, and the jacket I was wearing was the screaming fluorescent yellow color that's really hard to miss!

That near-miss caused my heart rate (monitored by a strap I wear that I can view on a watch) to skyrocket to 205. I've never seen it get to that point before -- ever. How can we possibly encourage motorists to be more aware of cyclists on the road? Why don't they realize that we're clipped into our pedals, and we can't come to a abrupt stop as quickly as they might assume?

It took us a couple miles to regain our positive attitude, but it did resume. The fresh air, exercise and togetherness makes it all worthwhile!

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