God, yesterday was beautiful. I like to think that when we get beautiful, sunny days here in Vermont, we appreciate them more than do people who have them all the time (I’m talkin’ to you, California). A rare late-fall weekend day like Sunday – sunny, low 60s, light breeze – is a true gift.
So I dug the bike out of the shed and headed to the waterfront early this afternoon. I prefer to ride on the bike path in the mornings, when there are only a few hardy souls about, but on this particular day I thought it wise to let the frost melt first.
My standard ride runs about 16 miles, 8 out and 8 back, but it’s been a few weeks now since I’ve done it, and my bike muscles are out of shape. I went out too fast, as usual, so when the headwind picked up on the way back, my already tired legs got a bit more of a workout than I had bargained for.
There were, no surprise, people everywhere. It’s Vermont, so the usual summer contingent – parents, strollers, cyclists, runners, walkers, dogs, kids and roller-bladers – was out in force, punctuated with the quirky and quixotic: a guy with a speaker box rising three feet in the air from the back of his bike, music blaring; two women walking a miniature pig, the first walking backwards in front of the pig, depositing treats on the ground in front of it to encourage its forward progress. I admit that I did a double-take on the pig – I just assumed it was a dog until I was right on top of it.
Half of a clump of teen boys headed for the hockey rink yelled at me: “Nice bike!”, which could just as easily have been male adolescent code for “Nice ass” or “You look like a dork,” as for a true compliment to my wheels. I don’t speak adolescent male, so the question still hangs, unanswered, somewhere over the middle stretch of the bike path.
In spite of the oblivious doing their level best to keep me alert and on my toes, it was as nice a way to spend an hour and a half as I could have asked for. I can assure you that everyone out there was grateful for a little break of sun and warmth before winter sets in in earnest.
Even the pig.