Quote of the Day: This is a quote from Kittie Howard’s comment from the previous post.  She had written about the Tuskagee Airmen and poverty and sharecroppers in the early 1900’s.  You can read that here.  I asked if life in the USA had really improved.  

Thanks for stopping by, Mary. About your question, yes, I think our country is much better off. People live longer; have access to better nutrition; have greater opportunity to go to college; have improved mobility, communication and so on. But with all these improvements come negatives that have to be dealt with – pollution, clogged highways, a larger and better educated workforce and so on…and we’re in the midst of a technological revolution – with the same upheaval as the Industrial Revolution – In 1898, a major concern in the U.S. was women riding bicycles. It was seriously thought that this would hinder reproduction. Family advocates feared women would ride bikes so much homelife would suffer, ie, they wouldn’t have the time to cook for families as they should. You can google and read some of the articles – mind boggling! I came upon this by accident and just kept clicking and clicking – The more things change, the more they stay the same…speaking of which, I’ve got dishes to stack in the dishwasher – hmmm….

The timing of that comment is remarkable because I just completed my second annual Tour of Lakes ride, here in the Brainerd lakes area of Minnesota.  Here’s what the club posted on their facebook page:
‎22nd annual Tour Of Lakes was today. 1100+ riders. Great weather. Wonderful volunteers. A few flat tires and probably some sunburn. Beautiful roads in the Pequot Lakes, Nisswa, Crosslake area north of Brainerd. Some little hills. We made them smaller just for this ride. They’re back to full size by this evening. You’re welcome!

Plan for next year. Always the first Saturday in June. A different route every time.

(They lied about the hills. They were killers, especially the ones they saved for the end!)
Here’s a close-up of the map.

It’s true, what those folks thought back in the olden days, that women wouldn’t want to reproduce and do dishes once they learned to ride bike.  I can honestly say that I had NO thoughts of reproducing OR doing dishes as I was pushing the pedal over and over, up and up the hills, until I couldn’t press it down one more time and had to get off the bike and walk the rest of the way.

I’ll have to confess that I was cursing out my friend Marina for ever talking me into the ride in the first place.  I was angry with the club for choosing this route, and I was questioning my own sanity and stamina, filled with regret, as I trudged forward.  A couple, older than me, biked by and asked, “How’s it going?”

I said, “It’s tough.”

“We get to go downhill here.”

“That’s great,” I said, barely able to talk.  “I’ll be fine if the rest of the ride is all downhill.”

It wasn’t.  I forgot all domestic responsibilities and started singing my song for Sunday’s service:  I lift my eyes unto the mountain, from where my help will surely come, For my help comes from the Creator, who made the Earth, the stars, and sun….and when the road is long and weary, and if you tire beneath the sun, You join with those who share the journey: bring them home when day is done. The Lord will keep me safe and holy.  The Lord’s a shade when day is bright; the sun won’t burn me with its glory, nor will the moon in dark of night.

I pedaled and walked and sang, and commiserated with the other bikers, ate snacks at the rest stops with my son, Bobby, and friend Denise, and when the road became too weary, I focused on the rootbeer floats at the end of the journey.  Oh, ya, I thought of the journey of life, of the creative life, of our spirits.  I thought of how when it gets really hard, someone comes along to lift you up.  That you make friends along the way, and through their encouragement, you reach the top. And, yes, as you coast down, feeling the wind whip over your sunburned shoulders, you know that another hill is coming, that it will test your power, but in the end, you’ll reach the top, and celebrate when day is done.

After a soothing shower and a rest while watching a movie (The Majestic with Jim Carrey was on tv, and I enjoyed it. The first time I saw it, several years ago, I thought it was a little slow, but I got the meaning this time, and liked it.)  And, Marina invited me and my boys over for supper, and I totally forgave her for “making” me ride uphill all day when I ate her delicious turkey burgers (where did you get them?), pasta salad, wine, and her daughter’s cute cake decorated with a bike!


Ride on!

Just keep pedaling, just keep pedaling…

As we finished our cake on Saturday night, the question was: So, who’s in for next year?

I think I’ll bring both Bobby and Zach next year, and Charlie and Eric if they feel up to it.  I saw other kids on the trail.  One dad had two boys riding tandem with him, and Marina road tandem with her 11-year-old daughter.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt:  Have you ever been on a long journey, or met a physical challenge, that made you stronger?