Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bicycle! Bicycle

"I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike..."

"Bicycle Race" released in 1978 by Queen, my birth year by the way, has been running through my head ever since we set out on our bicycle adventure today. With every turn of my pedal, and new scene upon the horizon I thought of so many of you today. I am so glad it is 50ish degrees outside I really thought I was going to have to commit myself soon. I am not all too fond of the climate around here and really, I'm trying really hard not to pack up and set out for my mommas! :)So psychotherapy by way of bike and city was a great remedy for my winter pity party I've been attending for quite some time now.

The DC/metro area  has a bikeshare program so for about $15 an hour you can rent a bike in one part of the city, and drop it off in another. So today we decided to go down to Old Town, Alexandria, one of my favorite places to go. To be honest when Michael said, very enthusiastically, "Hey! Lets go rent some bikes!" I was a little reluctant when I saw his running gear come out of the closet and the neon fanny pack being prepared. I was a little afraid we would be huffin it up the hills Tour de France style.  You see this is when the fond memory of "skiing lessons" with Michael and Timothy Tidwell, two springs ago, came to mind. Both Tim and Michael convinced me that I could learn to ski by doing the "pizza wedge and french fry" and I would certainly be okay with ditching ski school and I should come with them on the first run. Sandwiched between the two of them, I was thoughtfully coached all the way up the lift assuring me the hardest part was getting off. So it was a great surprise to me that after I had successfully gotten off the lift I tumbled head over feet twice, then slid down what seemed like 10 seconds face first with my poles and feet buried in the snow, as everyone else was upright, crying and screaming, I CANT STOP! Well I finally did stop, but I couldn't get up...I struggled so long, and it must have looked bad because ski patrol was alerted and paid me a visit. Someone helped me up but by this point the pizza wedge and french fry had no meaning so I took off one ski and walked down the mountain...for 2 hours...whew...    Anyway after some convincing, I agreed.                          

   I love the repetition of the bikes lined up along the city streets. I feel like such a big girl :) but all I could think before getting on is... well there it is...I hope we get along little bike...Its been about a year since Ive been on a bike and never in the city. All I could think of is falling into the other bikers on the trail, you know the very serious ones. They whiz by you at what seems like 40 MPH as they ring their bell and scream "ON YOUR LEFT!"... very neighborly. Anyway, after disclosing that I would NOT ride on the street, only the sidewalks, we set out for Mt. Vernon's Trail.

                                                                                                     There is so much to see, amazingly we live only about 3/4 of a mile from the airport so its the first thing we pass on the trail. I don't know if any of you have actually flown into Ronald Reagan, but its really exciting to land since it is on the bank of the Potomac. Fourth of July this past year "AJ" Aunt Jessica and the rest of the Poche clan walked the same trial in the other direction toward Gravelly Park. You can actually see the planes take off and land from this park. Its a hot spot for family's because the runway stops at the edge of the Potomac just at lift off and the planes fly over, roaring engines and all, a couple hundred feet above you. It IS really fun.

After you pass the airport the trail becomes more open the the city life just melts away. We cross multiple bridges and get to see many views of the Potomac in more of a natural state. I love seeing the sail boats and wild life. Just as we were passing, this family of ducks started to venture out into the more open part of the river. I couldn't help but think of Ben and Theresa...Ben loves birds, he works at the Audubon in Dallas. He spent last summer teaching the girls all about birds and the bird calls, they love their time with Uncle Ben and Resee!!  I also think its interesting to see the airplane on the horizon. I always think of Michae'sl dad and Beth Ann when I see sailboats. We went to visit them on the Gulf of Mexico two Christmases ago and loved every minute of it...It's also when I finally snuck the check from the waitress. Robert has this way of always paying when we go out and I really wanted to pay this time...I really think it was a shocker when I looked at him, giggled, and said "Too slow old man!"...Oh the look on his face...and by the way, it has never happened since. I really love Robert and Beth, we always have such a good time with both of them when we get to see them!
 Well we made it the first 5 miles of the trip to Old Town. We decided to go to lunch and walk around a bit so we parked our bikes at a bikeshare station and ventured into the nearest bike shop. There is so much to offer by way of the pedestrian lifestyle, restaurants, boutique shopping, piers off the Potomac, farmers market, etc. After having a chance to gain some confidence and let my skin soak in some good ol' fashion vitamin D, I decided that I really like riding the bike. I mentioned I thought I might want a bike for the spring and summer to go back and fourth from the farmers market.
We also found a really nice place to eat, great paninis! I love paninis! I really love this guy, he always seems to get me going in the right direction. We have explored so much already in the almost 14 years we've been married. Now that the kids are a little bit older we are seeing what being just a pair is like...I am enjoying the freedom but I love my babies! Old Town is so fun. You get to experience the best of the city but its also historic and quaint with a little boho feel.

Trolleys are a great way to travel in this area because there is a lot of traffic, both pedestrian and automobiles. You also have to pay for parking everywhere and it is rarely cheap. Everyone was out spending time with family and walking the dogs. It was just warm enough to enjoy walking but cool enough that there was no threat of sweat while riding the bike :) perfect combo!

xYup! I even ventured out on the street and I was also taking pics while riding...probably not too smart. I was really proud of myself, as long as Michael was leading. Plus its not often that I fully become part of the urban lifestyle so I had to have proof. Traffic wasn't too bad in this area. After a great lunch and time away I was ready to go home with all of my biking experience in tow. I was able to take all the scenery in now that I have skills so we ventured out a bit on the trail.
Of course with all the wind time of bike riding I thought so much of Connie. Connie and I would spend all day on our bikes adventuring in the neighborhoods. Even into our early teens, the bikes and skates were our way to a little freedom. We took many a trip down the bayou too. We were the female modern version of Huck and Fin...hiding food and water in plastic containers in old hollowed out logs, "falling" out of the boat, and sometimes pushing each other out of the boat...visited great memories today while spending time with my favorite person. Cant wait to see what our next adventure will be...hopefully we have more of these bike rides.