“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
As winter slowly melts into spring here in Northwest Illinois, my thoughts are turning more and more to being outdoors and to soak up the sunshine. The sun is something that we do not see much during the winter. One of my favorite outdoor activities in the spring and summer is bicycling. I have a Sun HT-3, which is ahand-powered trike. It is a pleasure to ride for hours, just taking in the sights and sounds of the outdoors.
Here in my hometown of Sterling, Illinois there are various bike paths on which I enjoy riding. A few of these run along the Rock River, which can be beautiful around sunset, as you can see in the picture below. The park district has done a great job maintaining these paths for all cyclists to enjoy.
On occasion my wife Amanda and I will also load our bikes into the back of our SUV and drive to other cities where there are great paths to explore. Chicago has a great bike trail that runs along Lake Michigan. This is perhaps one of my most favorite paths on which to ride. There are so many things to see, and best of all, there are places to stop and eat.
Another city nearby that has a great trail system which to explore is Madison, Wisconsin. Madison is home to two lakes, along which you can ride. One of these paths takes you through various neighborhoods of the city with lots of beautiful homes and well-manicured lawns. However, the best parts are along Lake Monona, where you can catch views of the city’s skyline. Then after you are done riding you can stop in at Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry and have one of their delicious cheeseburgers andsome deep-fried cheese curds.
There are times when my trike has needed repairs and thereis no better place to go than a shop we have right here in Sterling. I cannot say enough about the staff at Mead’s Bike Shop, especially the owners, Bryce and Marcy Mead. Their customer service is second tonone.
When I was looking for a bicycle, Bryce took the time tohelp me order my hand trike. His teamthen assembled it when it arrived. Thanks to Mead’s I have spent hundreds of hours riding and enjoying theoutdoors. However, without the help ofanother organization I would not have been able to purchase my trike.
A few years ago I was looking for a bicycle that I couldride where I could use my hands to pedal, as the strength in my legs is not the greatest. That is when a friend of mine told me about something called the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
This organization helps provide sportingequipment to disabled individuals. So, I wrote a grant, which they accepted, and thus I had a shiny, new trike. One on which I have had many adventures.
Perhaps, one of the most fun rides that I have had since getting my trike, at least in hindsight, was with my nephew Dalen a few summers ago. He and I decided to set out one warm and sunny afternoon. We had no particular goal in mind. We were just out for a joyride.
About 30 minutes into our aimless journey, Dalen asked if we could stop at the store so that he could get something to drink. Thanking that he was just going to go in and grab a bottle of Coke, I agreed and we stopped at a store just down the street. Little did I know that he was going to come back out with a four-pack of glass bottles of a soda he was into at the time called “Dew Shine.” I am not sure what he was thinking when he bought those glass bottles, as we had no way to carry them while riding. However, this is typical of Dalen, to not think ahead.
So, there we were a few miles from either one of our homes with 4 glass bottles of soda and no place to put them. I suggested that we each carry two bottles and make our way towards his house. However, in doing so we would need to ride along a fairly busy highway.
We started out quite well but it was difficult to hold two glass bottles between my legs and for him to carry two and hold on to the handle bars of his bike at the same time. So, we pulled over at a nearby gas station where we each downed a bottle. We then carried on a little further before the chain on my bike slipped off. Fortunately, it was an easy fix and we were back on our way. However, a short time later, the chain slipped off of Dalen’s bike, which wasn’t as easy to fix. We did eventually get the chain back on his bike, and made it home shortly thereafter. This was the last time he and I ever rode together.