I've tried to use my bike the past few years for running errands and such in the neighbourhood, and it has become a habit to do so. I'd like to ride my bike to work, like the Mister does, but I'd arrive in such a sweaty, snarly, shamble that I'd have to spend at least an hour putting my hair and makeup and clothes to rights before I'd be fit for human consumption.
After dinner this evening, I took it into my head to ride over to my parent's new place, to see how long it would take me, and also, because my dad needed a haircut. The enterprise started out okay, but once I got out of my own subdivision, which I'm pretty familiar with, I realized how many hills there are in this city. I knew there was one big-ass hill on the way to my parents, and no matter how many routes I negotiated in my head before setting off, there was no way around that damn hill, but there were at least a half a dozen which were complete surprises. I've driven that route a hundred times, but what seems inconsequential in a car is monumental when you're pedalling a bike. I kind of got lost in that unfamiliar subdivision ("damn, another crescent!"), but I did eventually figure it out and got to my mom and dad's in about 25 minutes. The ride home was a breeze.
My most impressive bike ride was last year, when Big Liver Girl and I went to Quebec for the Victoria Day weekend. Did I mention that the area was the Laurentian Mountains? And that there are mountains there? And that I have the cardio capacity of a chain-smoking grandma? It was 21K uphill, one way, and it nearly killed me. The scenery was spectacular, and Big Liver Girl was most accomodating of my bitching and whining and constantly stopping for rests, and she entertained me all the while and bought me a beer at lunchtime. (It was, and continues to be, the hands-down, best-tasting beer I have ever had in my entire existance.) It took us 3 1/2 hours to get to Val-David, but it only took us an hour and a half to get home. I thought I would be crippled the next day, but I was surprised to find that my legs still functioned, even though I was sure they would go on a wild-cat strike. I was very proud of myself to have gotten through it, and even better, actually enjoyed it. A memorable day with one of my favorite people on the planet was well worth every ache and pain.