For my fifth bike explore, I planned a route on actual streets that I knew existed as opposed to streets that used to exist and had been removed. How quaint.
The loop of streets I picked looked safe enough on the map, and I guestimated the distance at five miles, maybe four. At the time of day I’d be traveling, there shouldn’t be much traffic. Helmeted, ID’d and water-bottled, off I went.
I’d picked this route on the suggestion of someone local who both bikes and jogs. What she failed to mention was that this entire route would be uphill.
Cue me as a grandmother: “And in my day when I biked five miles, it was uphill! Both ways!”
I’m not sure how this works, but if you’re starting and ending at the same point, you should be starting and ending at the same elevation, no? And yet somehow the entire route was uphill. I was chugging along in my bottom gear a frightening amount of the time. After a while, I decided I’d wandered onto the intersection of MC Escher Boulevard and Mobius Road.
Which, I might add, at points has no shoulder and poison ivy growing right out onto the roadside.
I returned disheartened and exhausted, unable to do my traditional “victory lap” around the Angelborough Loop. I didn’t even do my typical “Wow, God, this is gorgeous!” while biking. I did do some “Wow, God, I got to the top of this hill only to discover another hill hiding behind it.”
Later that afternoon, my Patient Husband took the same route, and he says it’s not actually all uphill, only that the hills are steep. Thus you’re going downhill for very brief periods of time compared to the struggle uphill.
There was one point where, while biking, I felt frustrated because of how difficult this was, and I thought I caught a response, that this was how our spiritual lives go too. That when it’s tough, it seems like a long time and a huge climb. But when things are easy, we zoom along, barely pedaling, and don’t notice that as much.
Of course, that breaks down too because my bike ride is a loop and I end up at exactly the same elevation as I started. One hopes our spiritual lives go uphill and stay uphill.
Regardless, that was one tough bike explore. I’ll probably tackle it again sometime, since it’s a major workout. But maybe not next week. Maybe not the week after that, either.