With the sleeves of my Orange Crush t-shirt tucked up under the straps of my bra, determined to avoid the full-fledged “farmers tan” that I have been dangerously flirting with, I pushed the right pedal of my bike down and started to roll forward on the street in front of my house.
I attached my other foot to the pedal as I hung a left and started towards my favorite destination on two wheels. I hadn’t been drinking enough water and I could feel it.
“Don’t quit,” I told myself under my breath. I pushed forward and hopped onto the bike-only trail system, which was filled with cyclists – much like the roadways are with cars. There’s a reason Minneapolis has been named the best biking city more than once.
I rode with the flow, enjoying the creek and the flourishing plant life as I made my way closer to the lake. I passed by one of the many city parks and saw the playground filled with kids crawling all over the jungle gym and a couple of baseball games in progress across the field.
I pulled up next to an older woman standing on the corner with her dog and dropped one foot to the pavement as we waited for the light to turn green.
“Good morning,” she said to me with a grin.
“Morning,” I replied.
“What a beautiful day,” she stated. I nodded in agreement as the light gave us permission to cross.
“Enjoy it!” I said to her with a smile as I pushed off towards the other side of the street.
“You too, dear!”
I smiled as I rode on and entered the lake trails. This place makes people happy, I thought. The pedestrians walking opposite of me on their own trail proved it to be true. I saw smile after smile and heard laughter more often than not.
God, I loved this place. I rode hard, pushing myself further than I had in awhile. It felt amazing. I stopped for a water break at the pavilion and sat on the edge of the water, taking in the view. The sun reflected off the lake as sailboats navigated through the glistening waters.
I slid my water bottle back in its cage and smiled at the words tattooed on my left arm.
I jumped back on my bike, feeling genuinely happy, knowing this was only the beginning…