Essay: Biking on rural roads
I had been thinking about riding my bike to work since I only live about five miles from the Frost studio, especially since, starting in a few weeks, I will be starting a new job that will require me to drive more than an hour to work.
Then last week one of our cars decided not to start in the morning. My husband took our working car, I called the mechanic, and I thought: this must be a sign that I should ride my bike to work.
It wasn’t ideal bike-riding weather. Cold and blustery. I should mention that those five miles to work include one long up hill — in fact the road is called, “Hill Country Road”.
Also, living in a rural community, there are no bike lanes, and there are trucks that speed along the main road – not just pick-up trucks, tractor trailer trucks and log trucks stacked with chain-sawed trunks of trees.
I set off after some configuring of putting stuff that would normally go in my purse into a small backpack. One cable truck passed me, and I was able to pull off along the gravel side of the road. A few other cars passed in the other direction.
This is me walking up Hill Country Road. I also posted some beautiful pictures from the ride at Allegheny Mountain Radio.org.
The downhill was worth it; also the straight stretch where each pump of my legs sent the bike surging forward surprisingly quickly.
My face and gloved fingers were numb with cold, but I didn’t care. It was invigorating. The upper respiratory cough that I have been fighting with hot tea and aspirin, I felt I was physically wielding the weapon of cold air as I rode, gulping 32 degree oxygen into my lungs.
The entire rest of day once I arrived at work, I was refreshed and energized. I can’t wait for the next day when the roads aren’t covered in snow.
I have officially checked off an item on my life’s bucket list of riding my bike to work, and it was worth every minute, even walking alongside my bike up hill.
Tune in next to hear from the executive director of West Virginia Connecting Communities, a nonprofit making some big plans for walking and biking advocacy in the state.