I want to bring The Legacy Trail home with me. It’s the best of bicycling. Safe, wide and flat, and much of it is shaded.
As with everything, there was a bit of a learning curve. BF and I finally came to an understanding. If he’s going on a training ride, he can go alone. I decided, me riding behind him red-faced, thinking “I don’t like you,” wasn’t productive. If he’s going on a leisurely adventure, with plenty of snacks and breaks, I’m in. If it includes a breakfast stop, all the better.
Fear and Worry
You might think riding a bike, wind in my face, would bring back the carefree feeling of those days riding my bike around the neighborhood as a child. And when it does, I’m so very happy. But then there’s the last two miles when we are bucking a headwind and I’m worried I’m getting too much sun and my butt is beyond hurting and gone numb.
And there’s the bit of pre-ride anxiety I feel when we’re fixing water bottles and packing snacks. The more rides and the better I learn the trail, the less of this I feel.
It’s About the People
I am a professional people noticer.
- The guy who rides in an unusual helmet (BF says it’s a Motocross helmet) who always says hi when he passes. Always.
- The pods of intense bikers who break the 15-mile-per-hour speed limit and whiz by taking way more than their share of the road. They don’t say hi.
- The guy who rides trailing an ingenious, home-made cart full of little kids wearing helmets.
- Dogs in baskets and little trailers and with walkers on leashes.
- The oblivious. Walkers and bikers who proceed three people wide, chatting, unaware they are causing a traffic jam, people who stop to take a phone call and don’t pull off the road, and those who stop to peek over the bridge, then hop right back onto the trail without looking both ways.
- The guy who wears a tee shirt that says, “I like beer and maybe 3 people.”
- The people who warn when passing, “On your left.” There are 50 intonations one can use when saying this phrase. There is a woman, I’m guessing she’s at least a decade older than I am, who passes me and says, “On your left,” as if she were reading me a poem and saying good morning and expressing her love for this world, all in three words. I love her.
- The people who refuse to warn and just whiz by. This used to startle me, but I’m getting better.
- Those who ride balancing a blaring boombox, singing and smiling.
I won’t even go into the myriad of bikes and trikes and e-bikes and scooters and ellipticals on wheels and recumbent bikes and tandem bikes and variations of all the above I see on the trail. I will tell you I saw a woman wearing a helmet with a mohawk and a vest of armor riding a jacked up elliptical looking thing. I think she was a gladiator.
The rest areas along the path provide opportunities for pleasant encounters with fellow Hoosiers and people from all over the U.S. and Canada. We chatted with a man who was from an area not far from BF’s original home who talked at length about his days of flying an airplane and farming. And the woman who was sitting on a bench reading a book, her bike parked. She, a less experienced rider than her group, rode as far as she wanted and then read until they circled back to pick her up. Genius!
There was an Amish lady who I talked to at the breakfast place recommended by another guy on the trail. I plopped down after a 13-mile ride and joked, “Well, I made it here, but I may have to Uber home.” Her dark, brown eyes locked on mine. Matter-of-factly, she asked, “How old are you?” I felt like I was in front of the librarian returning a stack of overdue books. “Sixty-five,” I answered. “You’ll be fine,” she said with authority, “Just take your time and stop along the way and drink plenty of water.”
I don’t know why some bikers/walkers ignore trail etiquette, but I’m coming to grips with the fact that it’s not my job to pass out demerits, although if they needed someone to do this, I’d be good at it. And as our time here winds down, I’m focusing more upon the joy of riding and less on the worry of it.
And I’m taking my time, stopping along the way, and drinking plenty of water. And just noticing who follows the signs.