Quick question—where did April go? Seems like yesterday I was admiring the blue bonnet blooms on the side of the highway, and now we’ve hit temperatures in the nineties. Spring did it’s usual touch-and-go here in south Texas, and I know, I shouldn’t complain. Over the weekend parts of the upper Midwest just had snow accumulations from a late winter storm. But that just enhances my point because… it’s almost May.
So, if March is “in like a lamb/out like a lion” or vice-versa, and “April showers bring spring flowers,” then what’s May? We start by dancing around a pole for May Day and end with Memorial Day, and in between we celebrate graduations and schedule air conditioner inspections. There’s something else, too. May is National Bike Month.
Yes, I’m a cycling enthusiast. If you look closely at some of my social media profile pictures, you’ll see little white bicycles on the blue top I’m wearing. Sometimes I’ll post pics of cycling adventures in west Texas like this one. Not that I’ve been a lifelong advocate of the sport. A crash leading to a broken arm in the fifth grade ended my childhood love affair with the freedom a bicycle gave me. But in my early forties, when countless ankle injuries over the previous two decades had stretched out my ligaments and had left behind joint inflammation which caused me to shuffle in the mornings instead of walk, I discovered the benefits of cycling.
I’m an active person and like to exercise. But running hurt. My feet, my ankles, my knees, my hips, my back…they all complained after I came back from a jog. Then one day, a friend goaded me into getting on a bike, and trust me, you do pick the skill back up pretty quick. A little spin around the block turned into fifteen miles. When I woke up the next morning, no shuffling! Yes, my muscles complained, but after a few stretches, the pain disappeared. Then it hit me—biking is a no impact sport. I could ride all day, and my joints wouldn’t care. So, I chucked my running shoes and invested in a bike helmet. I’d found my “second half” sport.
Since May is National Bike Month, I encourage you to see if your community will hold any events. Some towns, and even big cities, block off downtown streets for a few hours on a designated day for folks, young and old, to take a leisurely ride on roads that most of the time prove unfriendly to cyclists. Not only do these events let you see the sights, but they usually have some type of food involved, too. And then you realize the cyclist’s secret—we ride so we can eat! Yup, I just signed up for an event that not only gives me a few craft-brewed beverages after thirty-miles of wildflower-spattered country hills, but I can choose from one of four food trucks offering barbeque, Belgian frites, steak, or gourmet grilled cheese.
In the above picture, that awesome covered bridge was the backdrop of a mid-course picnic on a back road in Maryland. A road I would never have been on if I hadn’t signed up for a local ride. Even if your town doesn’t hold an event, you can still bike through your neighborhood. As long as there’s a road, you can cycle, and yes, there’s even a whole sub-community of cycling that rides only on gravel roads. So, no excuses. Strap on a bike helmet and give it a try. Friends, family, fresh air, physical activity, and food—what better way to spend a May day?
And when you’re letting your muscles rest, check out my novel, Daughter of the South Wind, published in July 2018 by Soul Mate Publishing. There’s a bike reference in it, too (wink).
Daughter of the South Wind: http://bit.ly/SouthWind