Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
We started actually keeping track of my mileage in September 2007, but I began riding in earnest in July 2006 (I logged about 3,500 miles from then to September 2007 without keeping careful track, so I write that year off in my mileage count). Since then, I have:
- Pedaled all over Western Massachusetts and dipped into Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire
- Ridden the carriage trails in Acadia National Park
- Traversed most of the bike trails on Cape Cod
- In one season ridden the King’s Tour of the Quabbin, the Cape Cod Getaway, the STP, and the Tour de Landry’s — a total of 545 miles of organized riding — and raised $2,500 for MS research along the way
- Commuted to work in temperatures ranging from high 90s to the single digits and in high winds, blazing sun, thunderstorms, sleet, rain, snow, ice, and on days so beautiful it almost broke my heart to stop riding
- Moved from riding a battered old Specialized mountain bike while wearing baggy shorts and a T-shirt riding to a custom titanium Seven once described as the ultimate commuting machine (with a very nice LeMond Poprad in between) while wearing some of the best high-tech materials money can buy
- Gone from struggling to ride 6 miles to riding over a 100 miles in a day
- Seen three separate small-town parades on one long ride on Memorial Day
- Learned by name the staff of my local bike shop by name; they recognize me, my bikes, and my husband; I routinely bring them cookies and know the shop dog
- Gotten in the habit of routinely waving at three people — the driver of a pickup truck who once offered me a ride in the rain, another very intrepid bike commuter who I actually met last weekend at Landry’s, and a crossing guard who tells me to have a good day (or weekend) and occasionally to be safe — I see most mornings
- Overcome my fear of snow riding and become a decent ice biker, a feat of which I am extremely proud
- NOT experienced hypothermia, heat stroke, chilblain, or frostbite
Most of all, I have fallen in love with going by bike. I love the pace, the feel of my legs steadily propelling me along, the way frustrations tend to leach away as miles roll by, the opportunity to meet people and see a side of New England drivers on freeways completely miss. I love meeting other cyclists, most of whom are delightfully friendly and will help you fix a flat if you need it.
I love to ride. I hope I can spread my enthusiasm so other people, too, can experience the joy that is two-wheeled, leg-powered transportation.