I’ve been trying to remain faithful to The Assistant’s goal of walking and riding more frequently. This past week, I had two days where the car never once backed out of the garage. This is a pretty significant accomplishment out here in suburbia where people look at your strangely if you’re not in your car.
On Thursday, I got the grand idea to combine a workout with errand-running. I had heard reports that a trail connector had opened last fall, linking the two sides of the highway with an underpass. This is a big deal for someone like me, someone with more than a little bit of biking-on-the-roads paranoia. I decided to test out the connector by riding to the Target in the neighboring town.
When I approached the underpass, I was met with the sign above: “Trail ends 750′ ahead. Exit here.”
Wait a minute… I know I read about the connector ramp. Am I on the wrong trail spur? Was I mistaken? So I decided to continue. Foreboding signs aside (and there were a couple of them), the actual connector is a lovely work of shiny new concrete and saves me from having to risk my life riding over the highway overpass.
However, I didn’t quite think through the distance aspect of it all. When I got back later than expected after logging 12.5 miles of ride — more than half of that spent on bumpy, compressed gravel trail — I had a serious case of cruiser bike envy. Oh sure, I have a perfectly lovely 21 speed Trek circa 1998, but after bumping around on the rocky trails I absolutely wanted something with a seat the size of a Barcalounger.
Random notes from the excursion: I was chased by a mallard duck and Canada goose, working in tandem to get me off their trail; I inhaled enough bugs to meet my weekly protein needs; and I had to pass on a lovely but too-large cauliflower that wouldn’t fit into my bike bag; and startled a runner who was wearing Bose noise-canceling headphones who (not surprisingly) didn’t hear me coming.
But the good news was that I did it. I went to Target and Sprouts, then rode home. I showered, got some work done, and then walked to my local Peet’s Coffee and Tea. I worked for a few more hours, walked home and grabbed my bike to ride to school to pick up The Assistant who had ridden his bike to school for the first time that morning.
The added walking seems to boost my daily step totals between 3,000 and 5,000 steps without any major effort on my part, but I do find myself wondering just how much of a difference this sort of project makes in the scheme of things, health-wise. Does anyone out there in readerland actually know the answer? I’m kind of curious.
In other news, I’m looking for a good 5k to sign up for in Dallas on May 18. Any suggestions?