Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our New Family Hobby

  Friday evening my husband bought himself and me a bicycle. He had been wanting to get a bike for a long time. When he was a kid he used to ride his bicycle all over town (This specific town where we now live, Springfield, Missouri.) He had bought a bike for our daughter earlier this spring and she loves to ride bike as well. Because my husband and daughter love bike riding, I decided I would also get into bike riding. The problem is, I haven't been bike riding in 30 years!

       Yesterday we went to the Galloway Creek Greenway trails which runs north-south in southeast Springfield, from Pershing Middle School to Nature Center and Old Iron Bridge.It's a six mile trail but only just over 3 miles of it are available to bikes. This section of the trail runs from the Pershing School through Sequiota Park and beyond about a mile. This trail gave us the ability to bike a short distance without having to deal with too much car traffic. We decided this was an excellent trail for us to cut our biking experience baby teeth on.
      Our first major obstacle in our bike riding experience was that we had to figure out a way to get our bicycles from home to the park. We couldn't fit all three bikes into the trunk of the car. Fortunately we don't live far from this park so Jeff, my husband, decided he would ride his bike to the park and meet our daughter and I at the school.
      After I made a stop at the library to drop off some tapes and then again for water for our adventure, we arrived at the school and started on our journey. I have to admit that I was actually afraid of riding my bike. I was new to the bike and I wasn't used to the speed that a bike can have. Plus anytime I came near another rider or a pedestrian I was afraid I would lose control and run into them.

     At the same time I could feel the muscles in the front of my thighs burning. I didn't realize those muscles were that far out of shape. Between my burning muscles and my fear of speed or fear of losing control, I ended up doing a lot of walking in certain places. I couldn't build up enough speed to go up hills so I had to walk. At road crossings I had to walk. I walked through the tunnel the first time through. We went beyond the park and just past the three mile mark where the bike trail ended. (In October, a tunnel under the major highway there will be opened so that the trail bike trail will go even further. I hope that by that time we will be able extend our trip down that trail.)
     I told Jeff and Boni to go on ahead of me. I didn't want them to have to wait for this slowpoke. I rode at my leisurely pace and then went on ahead together. They would stop sometimes to make sure that I was okay. We stopped at Sequiota Park for a while to enjoy the caves.
     Sequiota Park is extremely unique in that is one of the few places where you can find public caves on the premises. At Sequiota Park there are three different caves. Two are smaller and there is one larger one were you can see into the cave to see the cave formations. Because of fear of visitors transmitting diseases to the bats, at present visitors can no longer go into the caves without protective gear.  This thirteen acre paradise is open year round, in addition to the caves the park also features a duck pond, grills, picnic tables, restrooms, play areas, and of course acres of natural undisturbed land.
      We appreciated the coolness of the air emitted from the mouth of the caves as we sat took in the beauty of the scenery around us.  After about an hour at the park, we continued our biking adventure back toward the car.
Photo: Donna's grabbing a quick nap while Boni looks for crawdads...
      Again I allowed Jeff and Boni to go on ahead. This time they didn't stop to check up on me but continued down the trail leaving me to my own leisurely pace. I was feeling more confident and was actually enjoying the ride except for the fact that my bottom was getting sore from the bicycle seat.
      At about 9/10ths of a mile from the car my legs suddenly refused to move. I tried to put my foot down to catch my weight, but I had no strength left in my legs. I fell there in the middle of the bicycle path. I couldn't get my legs to support my weight at all. I had totally used up all the energy reserves in my legs.
       A jogger came by and helped me. He picked up the bike and I finally was able to get back on my feet. I decided to walk that last 9/10ths of a mile. I arrived back at the car and we went home to nurse our sore muscles.
      Despite my mishap, I intend to continue bike riding. Not only is the riding a good activity to promote family togetherness, it also is great exercise for the whole family. Here in Springfield, there are a lot of trails for us to enjoy together as well. I can see this activity becoming an integral part of my simply living experience.

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