I will be turning 50 in 2010. As a way of marking the significance of the year I am planning a bike touring trip with friends in Croatia. I have entertained the idea of a fancy bike tour in Europe for years. Many things have stopped me from making the trip happen. I did not want to ride alone and the last time I did any touring in Germany that was the case. Now I have a partner and some friends who are game for riding as long as we have a sag wagon and comfy places to rest at night. Since I am turning 50 I too think comfort and ease is a good idea.
Biking has been a part of my life since I was five and was able to take my first breakfast ride with my father and older sisters to Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House. I was proud and thrilled to pedal my way to food and have memories of this being part of our family route throughout the first decade or so of my life.
I was not always so joyful about biking with my Dad. Sometimes he would get us lost or take the longest route between two points possible, and as a young kid, I thought that was unnecessary. However, my dad is turning 90 and still bikes, actual these days he rides a fancy recumbent trike. So I am thinking something must right about his biking style. I can only hope at 90 I am still riding.
Over the years between five and forty-five I have had a variety of biking moments. I became a bit of a biking snob for a while, priding myself in having the best gear and using my bike as a primary means of transportation. I had a brief desire to bike across the country, but after a few treks down the east coast, found biking on America highways not so great. I stayed off the road on trails for awhile after that.
Throughout my biking life I have continued to take a few rides each year with my dad. He has gotten out on his bike most every day since retirement. On his 80th, the whole family gathered to take the big bike ride to the local ice cream parlor, instead of Aunt Sarah’s. Following my dad’s path, the ride took considerably longer than the five mile distance between where they live and parlor – but it was his day and it was neat to have three generations of family riding along with my dad leading the way.
A few years ago I invested in a nice road bike. In many ways I feel like I did when I was five. I love riding these days. May be it is the bike – it is light, sleek and fast. Or may be it is that I am approaching 50 and no longer feel like I need to compete or ride hard. I simply ride to enjoy the scenery, the freedom.
I sometimes get lost and often take the longest path between two points. I am guessing I am more like my dad than I ever wanted to admit growing up.
I am about to turn 50 and can’t think of a better way to celebrate than taking a bike ride. Of course, the tour needs to provide great food and hopefully an ice cream parlor on the big day. My dad won’t be in Croatia, but I am fairly certain on his 90th this year we’ll be taking a ride somewhere.