I was in Bike Heaven recently, but I didn't have one to ride. Over a four-day period, Vicky and I spent some quality time together in North Hero, Vermont, amid the islands of Lake Champlain, and, honest to God, there were cyclists everywhere. Literally hundreds and hundreds.
There were people cycling alone. Couples sharing the roadway. All shapes and sizes and ages; most completely kitted out, but not everyone. Peloton after peloton; some zooming as though in the Tour de France, others going slow enough to take in the beautiful surroundings. One couldn't help but notice that Vermont Bike Tours captured a big piece of the cycling pie.
Furthermore, an afternoon visit to nearby Burlington revealed the pervasive mindset of enjoying the outdoors by way of pedal power. Once again, bikes everywhere, with plenty of racks to park them and miles of paved trails to ride them. This is just my opinion, but much like my native state of Michigan, BikeVermont is way ahead of BikeMaine in all things cycling.
But why no bike? Believe me, it wasn't our intention.
My wife and I had planned the short getaway months ago, looking forward to discovering a part of the Green Mountain State that usually found us dashing through on our many journeys to and from Michigan. This time, we were going to stop and smell the roses, as they say.
We wanted to ride our bikes to the local attractions, places such as St. Anne's Shrine on neighboring Isle La Motte — site of Vermont's oldest settlement — along with visiting the many vineyards, places to hike, beaches, restaurants, and the like.
While much of this was accomplished by way of using the car, it just wasn't the way we wanted to do it. Because of health issues, which Vicky is now recovering from, the bikes had to stay home. (By the way, she still hasn't ridden her new Trek bike.) Although I was pea green with envy for every bike rider I saw — and Vicky often remarked, "Sorry, we couldn't bring the bikes." — it was still a very enjoyable trip. And great spending time together.
No bikes, no problem. It just gives us a good reason to go back to Lake Champlain, which I'm certain we will do.
Truth be told, being off the bike for four days did me way more good than harm. Leading up to the Vermont trip, I had cycled 19 straight days, and with nearly 2,100 miles already this season, I was definitely due for a rest. As I said earlier, the big plus was having more couple's time with Vicky ... my beautiful bride of 36 years this coming Tuesday.