Where there’s paint, there’s Lucy

I bought my bike when I first moved to Chicago. Scott and I had just started dating and it seemed like something fun we could do together. Yet the narrow streets and less-than-polite drivers intimidated me a bit, so I wasn’t keen on riding as much as I thought I’d be.

Nonetheless, we hit the lakeshore trail together a few times and ambled along the leafy streets toward Evanston on occasion. I biked to work a few times as well. There was even that very memorable day when we went in search of the fabled Forest Preserve Trail, putting on some impressive mileage before finally happening upon it. Then we proceeded to bike a few more miles up the trail. On our way back I finally realized that I’d have to somehow get home the same way I’d gotten to Wherever The Heck I Was. That one ended badly as we biked down Lincoln Avenue, still miles from our apartment, with me screaming hoarsely at him, “How much farther???” I thought I was going to die.

Biking in Chicago, tho, isn’t quite the same as biking here in Grand Rapids. It’s flat. Flat, flat, flat. There’s not much impeding your progress if you’re just leisurely riding along (unless you count the very windy day on the lakeshore path when no matter how hard I pedaled, I swear I only moved a few feet).

Our neighborhood here is conveniently located atop a hill. Leaving on a bike requires returning via a slope. And then there are all the slopes in between to tackle. Lots of them. There’s not much flatness going on around here. San Francisco or Seattle it’s not, but when you’re a wuss like me, those hills seem pretty darn big.

When the brake on my inline skates wore out a few weeks ago (yet to be fixed, lazy me), I turned to my bike as my mode of exercise and summer fun. And hills both large and small loomed on all sides. The hubby and I have hit the road several times and I’ve gotten worn out pretty quickly. I’ve gradually worked up from half an hour to an hour. But the hills have remained my downfall.

Tonight, however, I took the hills (the smallish ones, mind you) of Grand Rapids by storm! We zoomed through East, schlepped through Hillcrest, powered down Michigan Street, cruised the bike path along the Beltline with all of its many slopes, pedaled furiously along the sidewalks of Burton (cuz I ain’t sharing that road with those crazy drivers), and returned home in 70 minutes. Woo hoo! I felt like Rocky on wheels. Next stop, Heritage Hill!