Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

The Super Host of the Bike Trails

I have done an excellent job of riding my bicycle everywhere I go. I think I have used a transit pass once in the last week. Of course there’s the perceived dedication to minimizing my carbon footprint, caring for the environment and all that, which are perfectly good side-effects of bike riding. But truthfully I’m in it for the cost savings and the biker’s butt. I have acquired the look of a Colorado biker—padded spandex shorts, white logo’d T-shirt, a kid’s helmet that fits just right, and my recent addition of a bell, used for ringing to alert those in front of you of your presence. I ring it a lot just because the sound of it makes me happy.
There are other side-effects however, mainly mental and emotional. Each morning I have a moment of initial debate with myself. I could sleep in another 45 minutes, it might rain, it might be too hot, or, worst of all, I would have to ride uphill in the early morning. Thankfully I have held fast and gotten on my bike, and am rewarded immediately when I hit the street and smell the fresh morning air, the wet dirt from sprinkled lawns, and hear the silence of the city in the early morning.
Spring also happens to be the time of year when all of the baby animals are running about, and they seem more active in the morning. Baby bunnies, curious and not old enough to be cautious, run into my path and stop, waiting for me to approach, before darting off into the bushes at the last possible second. Baby prairie dogs do the same thing, standing along the edge of the path to watch me, their mothers squeaking loudly for them to run away.
There are plenty of designated bike lanes on the roads, which I use when necessary, but given the chance I like to ride on the sidewalks through the historic neighborhoods, or along the parkways and river trails. The smells are constantly changing, and I often catch a whiff of what smells like honeysuckle, then lilacs, then cottonwood, and occasionally marijuana from a local grow house. My commute takes me about an hour, depending on whether I’m riding from my downtown home or my suburb home. I’m fully awake and energized by the time I arrive, and with the feeling that I’ve already had a special break for the day. Like stopping for a leisurely picnic in the shade. It’s good for my soul, and, did I mention, my butt is becoming phenomenal.
The negative side-effect of bike riding is other bikers. Motorists I must admit are mostly courteous and yield. Other cyclists, however, are jerks. They seem to be in a huge hurry, and apparently it is against their code of ethics to ever slow down, even when navigating a busy walkway. And, they never, ever use their bells. They expect pedestrians to yield to them, and I have seen many looks of fear on poor walkers out with their dogs as a cyclist races between them without ever slowing down.
I’m not that kind of biker, so I always make it a point to slow down when I’m approaching anyone on the path, either walking toward me or away from me. I ring my bell well in advance, and when they turn around to look I always greet them with a big smile and a “good morning.” They seem shocked that I would interact with them, but I always get a nice smile and greeting in return. I like to think I’m doing a little to offset the arrogance of other bikers. I’m like the super host of the bicycling path.

June 16, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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