Archive for November, 2009

Holiday Ride

Holidays add an extra helping of challenge to the exercise-challenged.  The question is can you pull yourself away from the guests, the kitchen duties,and the food long enough to work in a bike ride?  The answer: yes!  You have two choices:

1)Ride before the cooking starts.  This is what we did Thanksgiving morning. And we passed a yard where they had three huge pots over fires.  It smelled delicious.  What an extra bonus!

2)Ride after the eating ends. This is what we did today, the day our family actually cooked turkey and had a meal.  Somewhere between finishing dessert and washing 12 crystal goblets, we worked in a ride.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hooray for goals accomplished.


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Can I just say that walking through grey mist on a grey day beneath wet, grey, Spanish moss is not helping motivate me to exercise?

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There is a corner on the bike route that I’ve recently become hesitant to turn.  Today, I deemed it safe because a cat sat in the front yard.

But a few days ago, just as I was making the turn, a big brindled dog shot across the road right in front of me.  He was so fast and so focused that if a car had been coming he would have been road kill.  The dog’s bark was ferocious.  Luckily he wasn’t barking at or focusing on me. 

Instead, he was telling off a Chihuahua, whose yip was so high that he sounded more toy than dog.  From the safety of his chain-linked yard, the Chihuahua was giving it right back to the big dog.  I could hear the shouts of the big dog and the screams of the smaller one all the way back home.

Every time I get ready to turn on that street I look for the big dog.  His posture, his bark, his stride, held such power.  I’m not sure I could out distance him if he chose to pick an argument with me instead of a Chihuahua.  But something about the scene stuck with me – the big dog’s power and the little dog’s tenacity.  So I worked these two characters into my most recent manuscript.

Writers never know where their manuscripts will end up or how far they will go.  But I do know that had I not been on my bike I would have missed out on writing a great scene. As a writer, being outside awakens me.  This is a big reason why, despite my failings, I have been able to stick with the bike route. I know that what I see and hear while exercising often offers a source of inspiration for my writing.  I’m sure it’s enriching to people in other professions too.

So… go forth and exercise!

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Night and Day

gloriousYesterday I somehow managed not to ride until after dark.  Riding my bike in the dark is not my favorite thing to do, or the safest.  But I felt compelled to do it anyway because I skipped riding on one cold rainy day last week and I didn’t have an excuse at all yesterday. 

My husband wanted to go with me, which made the trip more bearable, especially when we were chased by an angry dog for half a block.  It’s been a few decades since a dog has chased me and I didn’t like the sensation at all (even though it was probably great for my heart).  I also didn’t like the fact that every other dog in the neighborhood was alerted to our ride.

Determined not to have the same experience today, I decided to ride first thing this morning.  I was able to see some wonderful things like the birdhouse above that is still covered with beautiful morning glories even though the glories along the railroad track have gone to seed. 

But riding first thing in the morning on a Saturday does have its consequences.  At least that’s what I’d call passing a yard sale on a bike and having to come back in a car to pick up three pieces of furniture…

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It doesn’t get any easier…

just rideI think the reason exercise routines (and even blogs) often fail is that it doesn’t get any easier.  You jump into something thinking that once you’ve gotten into the habit, something you’ve made a commitment to will come as easily as breathing.  But it doesn’t happen that way.  Not for me. 

In some ways it gets harder.  The excitement wanes.  But the bike is still there, just like it was the day I started.  Waiting.  Today, it is waiting in the cold, wet shed.  And I’m about to go out there and ride it. Here I go… I can do it… I can do it…

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Passing the House on N. Hermitage

the hot pink bike

I know that he is there.




So why do I still

flinch –





when I hear that

deep bass



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I’ve always loved a mystery. Maybe it’s because I made enough trips to the library as a child to read every single Nancy Drew Mystery. And every Bobsy Twins Mystery… and all of the Hardy Boys. Maybe it’s because when I found the complete Sherlock Holmes on my father’s bookshelf I read it from cover to cover. I’ve even written mysteries. Six of them are being published by Putnam in the first two volumes of The Adventures of Dreadlock Jones. I guess I just I love wondering why.

And now The Hot Pink Bike Route has presented me with a mystery! The first clue was this:

crime scene

You probably don’t recognize this scene of the crime. Last time you saw it, it looked like this:


And the time before that it looked like this:


But now the sign is gone, completely. The first picture you saw is the former location of the sign. I wondered why the owners of the sign decided to remove it. It has, after all, been there for so long. Maybe they saw my blog and felt embarrassed. Nah… Maybe it had rotted and wouldn’t stick in the ground anymore…  I kept my eyes and ears open, folks. Even so, I was very surprised when I saw this:

Ah ha!

Yes, look closely. That is the sign in question. And it is on the porch of a house fairly far away from the yard it used to grace. A different street even.

Why is the sign in a this new location?  I wonder why. I wonder why….

All I know is this: If I hadn’t been out on my bike, I would have never pedaled across the mystery. 

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