Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I'd Rather Be On Horseback
If all your comments were votes, I'd say biking was voted down 10-1.
As I was pedaling (then pushing) up a very long, steep hill last weekend, being passed by younger, fitter, men and women, your words were screaming in my head.
What am I doing on a GD* bike??!!?? (*gosh.darned)
It didn't help that we ran into some of our buddies--fellow land conservationists and president and former VP of our Palisades Park non-profit--Robbi and Vic--on horseback! (As they should have been.) It didn't seem natural to be propped up on my bike talking to them as their horses plucked away at the grass. I even found myself making excuses for being on a bike rather than on my horse--as if I was somehow cheating on my horse.
We said good-bye to them, pedaled something that I'm pretty sure is the equivalent of the Tour de France, and ascended the bluff overlooking the river only to be met by two more women on horseback enjoying the view. The wind was blowing their horses manes gently and they were smiling from ear to ear--all relaxed and happy. I was huffing and puffing--sucking air into my stinging, under worked lungs and experiencing leg fatigue. I wanted to say--hey, I have horses, too. I love horses. Can I pet your horse? This is just an anomaly--I'm a really a horse person not one of those obnoxious bike people who come screaming down toward us on the narrow, cliff trails.
Alas, I was not a horse person that day; I was an out-of-shape bike person who, btw, bikers, I'm sure, would not claim as their own. I'm one of those newbies they hope will give up and clear off their bike trails. One of those that struggles with the rules--Do I pass on the left or right? Are those 15 mph speed signs for real? I need to go like 50 mph to get enough speed coasting to make it up the next hill. We can be sued if we hit a pedestrian? Really???
But the out-of-shape part of this equation is exactly why I am out there huffing it. The good news: I'm already starting to see its benefits. I'm not getting any younger (as last month's back pain proved) and if I'm going to be enjoying a long life with horses I have to be conditioning myself as much as I condition them. This is why I chose biking:
1. I have to be outside.
2. I have to be on the trails.
3. I have to have variety.
4. I have to go fast.
For the record, however, I'd much rather (and this will always be true) be on horseback!