I’ve really been a slouch when it comes to riding my bike. It’s been at least two years, and probably more, since I’ve straddled the Schwinn Caliente and pedaled off. My bike has been needing new tires and some basic maintenance, and the bumpy brick roadways of German Village aren’t exactly conducive to a thin-wheeled bike, anyway.
This past week, though, Kish got our bikes fixed, and this morning I got up early and decided to take a ride. By staying on Third and Whittier I could stick to smooth asphalt roadways, and that worked out well because my destination was the Scioto Trail bike path on the Whittier peninsula. It’s a nice, shaded ride along the river, winding past the Audubon Center and under the I-71 bridges, that emerges from the woods at the southern point of downtown Columbus. If you’ve got the energy and desire you can then head north, past the Scioto Mile park, and join the Olentangy bike path that rolls past Upper Arlington and the campus area.
It was a beautiful morning and I rode for a few miles, turning around when I read the Main Street bridge. I quickly realized, however, that my years of non-biking had taken their toll. I can walk forever without a problem, but cycling uses different muscles, and on the way back my thighs were screaming as I labored up the very gentle incline that takes you over the railroad tracks on Whittier. I desperately fought the urge to hop off and walk my bike up the hill — which would be a horrible embarrassment and egregious confession of failure — downshifted repeatedly to the lowest gear, and kept going at a snail’s pace until I finally made it to the top and could blessedly start coasting again. Fortunately, I wasn’t passed by any elderly joggers or children on tricycles.
When I acknowledge that biking uses different muscles, I can’t ignore the hindquarters, either. My keister hasn’t had to deal with a bicycle seat in a while, and it clearly needs some toughening up.