Late in August I decided to set a goal of 30 bike rides before September 30th. Well, yesterday I passed my halfway point. I live in a duplex in the Lakeview subidivision in Oswego, IL. It's a mix of single family homes with duplexes. We have some wetlands with ponds and some great biking trails that run through the subdivisions and along some country roads.
The journey of getting to my 30 rides has been interesting. I have been going to a health club of one sort or another for over 25 years so am not someone new to staying fit. I work out 5-6 times a week and ride the stationary bike as part of my overall fitness program.
Sitting on a staionary bike at the gym and riding a bike on a crisp summer morning is the difference between eating at McDonald's and eating at Morton's. You get fed both times but the ambiance and quality are a bit different.
Winding through my subidivision gives me a close up view of what my neighbors are doing to their homes. From landscaping to roof replacement - neighbors are doing upgrades instead of selling thier homes.
A quick look in my MLS shows 6 listings with one contingent and one short sale in the single family homes. The majority of the listings are under $250K and are in great shape. In the duplexes we have 5 listings with 3 with contracts already - so only 2 are actually available, plus a FSBO. The prices for duplexes for the most part are under $180K.
This is a pretty stable neighborhood with lots of children along with retirees and even some single folks. Just your typical suburban neighborhood with several parks and those bike trails.
My typical ride takes me past the subdivisions to some country roads that wind between the neigboring town. I even go by some farms with horses, lots of corn and soy fields and some more unique homes on much larger lots.
Once I leave the paved trail and head out on the actual road the need to stay sharp and focused on the road takes over. As cars and trucks approach and for the most part pass by giving me wide berth I wonder why the accelerate as they pass. Riding on a bike the sound of a car approaching and picking up speed as they pass can be a bit nerve racking. I realize that getting pass me quickly is their main objective since to a driver's perception I am a obstacle just like a animal or tree limb. But according to driving laws I have the same right to be on the road as they do so perhaps a bit of caution in speed would be appreciated.
I have learned a lot of lessons on my bike rides. That people still will say hello as they pass you on the trail. That someone can even lend a helping hand when you encounter minor problems. That nature is full of sights and sounds that we either take for granted or worse, don't even notice.
The sense of fullfillment that I can get to point A to point B on my own pedal power can not be underestimated. That sometimes the simple things in life, the slowing down of our fast paced lives can bring us more joy and give us the extra charge that we need to focus on life's challenges.
The rides started out as a way to break up my fitness workout and now they have become a way to feel more alive and in tune with what is actually happening around me.
At times I wonder where all the homeowners are since I rarely see people around the homes I pass. Working, school, running errands, commuting, visiting other friends and family but their homes are there waiting for their return. Havens from the daily grind, providing shelter, and sometimes a symbol of their accomplishments.
So if you want to enjoy the bike trails, the parks and ponds/lakes in a small town in IL just give me a call and become a neighbor. Just remember to say "Hello!" when you hear.."passing left!".