Thank heavens I can ride

The second day of spring was certainly better than the first here in Maine. My eyes were squinting against the bright sun, even with sunglasses on. The wind was sharp and as my lungs drew in the crisp air, I was thankful with each breath that I'd put on a neck gaiter to cover my mouth.

Yes, it was on the slightly cool side for being two-thirds into March, but I didn't care. After being cooped up inside for a couple of days, I was outdoors and, more importantly, riding my bike.

My Trek 920 ... bike number seven.

Each morning upon waking, the realization of these unprecedented times — namely the coronavirus pandemic — comes quickly to mind, eclipsing any thoughts that I might have just had a bad dream. My initial reaction to all this had been one of listlessness, not wanting to do anything, or, more to the point, not knowing what to do.

But just as before this global crisis, I've reverted back to the one constant that is part of all our lives. It's called a routine, and its value in keeping us in balance throughout this whole ordeal is more important than ever right now. Like everyone, I have the normal responsibilities that must be attended to, but a big part of my daily life — the routine — as you might have guessed, involves getting in some time on my bicycle.

As long as people can continue to be outdoors, and practice social distancing, riding is a wonderful way to lift one's spirits, collect your thoughts, and remain healthy. It certainly works for me and I highly recommend it. Fortunately, the bike shop where I work has remained open, but our doors are locked. Customers communicate their needs by phone, leaving and picking up their two-wheeled machines in our parking lot. Weird times, indeed.

I don't know what I would do if I couldn't go riding. As it is, some of the events I've registered for — like the upcoming Frost Heave Fondo in Searsmont — have been canceled. And Vicky and I nixed our trip to Moab, Utah, so I could go mountain biking ... oh, and visit my sister, Becky. Group rides are being discouraged, mostly because of the danger of flying "snot rockets" and their potential for carrying the virus. The one good thing is hopefully motorists will take social distancing seriously and give us cyclists the required six feet.

So please, do get out for a ride. Dust off that old Schwinn, Trek, Specialized or whatever type of bike you have buried in your garage, get it checked out at your local bike shop, and go for a pedal. I'm finding, at least for the moment, that there is less vehicular traffic on the roads, so it's a good time to go. Just being outside is very beneficial right now. A lot of people are out walking and running, which is great. But I like riding a bicycle, because I always have a place to sit down.

'Reunion Tour'

As you can see by today's photo, I've received and assembled — with help from my good buddy, Alan — my Trek 920 adventure bike for my Maine-to-Michigan "Reunion Tour" in 2021. Before I could bring it home from the bike shop, I considered having the boys from Dead River Company come over and take the furnace out to make room for my new wheels. We're up to eight bikes in the basement and, before you start exclaiming "Oh my god," one of them belongs to my wife.

I've only ridden it a short distance, so will offer more information in the future. And I've ordered a pair of rear pannier bags for the beast; in the color red to match the bottle cages. Sweet! Anyway, stay safe and get out for a ride.

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