So, Dad's been doing these Polar Bear Bike Club rides for awhile now. I had ridden one last year after I got my new Gary Fisher bike (click here for my review). For me, that first PBBC ride was a social event. I brought along some friends and we mostly chatted the whole time as we leisurely rode around Baldwin. I don't think I really even broke much of a sweat.
This past year, my Dad completed the Braking the Cycle ride from Baltimore to New York and of course, the family was there to cheer him across the finish line. My boyfriend was also there, and I guess the emotional high the crowd feels when the riders pull in to town swept him off his feet. Kyle decided to sign up for this year's ride.
Now, as the daughter of one of these crazy cyclists, I know what is involved in preparing for these rides. I have seen my Dad sweat it out on a stationary bike through the winter months. I have seen him take "day rides" out to Montauk, and I have seen him wake up at the literal crack of dawn to get in miles before work. Needless to say, I am nervous about Kyle being "up to speed" when the Big Ride time comes. In a feeble (yet effective) effort to get Kyle up onto his bike, I suggested that we go out with Dad and Dan on the first of this year's PBBC rides.
I am so glad we did! Not only did I have a fun time riding around some of the prettier spots in Baldwin (who knew it had so many quaint ponds?), but something about the ride left me wanting more. I really enjoyed the ride. I loved the cold air hitting my lungs. I didn't love the snot pouring out of my nose (the last remnants of a nasty cold) but being outside and getting my body moving again was kicking that cold's butt. I still chatted with Dad, Dan, Joe, Kyle, and my Uncle Ed, but I also spent a lot of the time not talking. Simply paying attention instead, to the gears on my bike and what happened when I would change from one to the other. I paid attention to my leg muscles, and which ones started to burn on those miniscule inclines. I paid attention to my breathing and how it would quicken if I decided to pedal a little faster.
The ride was a leisurely one, nothing all that strenuous, but this time around it left me thinking. What about another 5 miles? Or another 10 miles?