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January 12, 2018: The Bicycling Life: The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

The Stuff Dreams are Made of is from Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest.” At this very moment in time, it is applicable to my life. I have had numerous days like this one in my life, more than most, and maybe more than I deserve. Is now necessary to relive.

I woke up this morning – had the same feeling I had when I got my first pair of ice-skates. They were light brown, double-bladed. They fit me perfectly. I recall that I thought “today I am going to go ice-skating. And I did. So today I thought, “I am going for a bicycle ride.” And I did.

I was admittedly apprehensive about my first ride on Hestar fra Backcountry Bicycles. I feared that the bicycle would not fit me and that I’d hit snow patches on the trail and fall over often. I knew, too, that if this were so, that I would not ever ride again, which would cause Pete to say, “We spent all that money on that bicycle and you never use it!”

I also feared that I would not have the stamina to ride the bicycle very far. And, too, that I would get sore really fast.

And as I expected, I felt really bad when we set out because the horses, all four, were lined up at the fence. I felt I was letting them down. It right then crossed my mind that this might end up being a no-win situation. Ride the horses and the bicycle gets neglected. Or, ride the bicycle and the horses get neglected. It could have been a tough call, all the way around.

Alys, Hestar fra Squalor Holler, and Ryder


The first five minutes on Hestar were a little challenging. I had to internalize how the one set of derailleur levers work, and also figure out how to deal with soft snow patches. I figured out the derailleur levers really fast. As for the soft snow, this took me a little more time. What I discovered was that I’d stay upright if I maintained a fast cadence and rode through the patches hard. It was quite interesting because Pete, who was riding a thinner tired(!) mountain bike, patched out in the places that I floated through. This happened repeatedly.

Well, it was a truly wonderful ride. The white highway was fairly firm (Pete will say otherwise), and, of course, I came home wanting to go out again tomorrow, for from this point in time on, the white highway will beckon.

Once home, we ate lunch then headed out again. My initial reason for getting Hestar was so that I could do trail recon. And this is exactly what I did. I knew what the white highway trails would be like when we set out. We rode our trails and then did a small portion of the white highway. It turned out to be a bit punchy, but I was less apprehensive knowing where the ice was, and where the soft spots were. And Raudi did wonderfully, even going over an ice flow with her head down, so as to keep her balance.

It was dusk by the time we got home. Pete said he’d clean the pen, which gave me time to get Tyra out. He did not know this, but I took her around the loop, ponying her on Hestar. We both went a ways up the learning curve. She must learn to stay on my left because my shifter levers are on my right. She must also stay a safe distance from me, and when I say “over,” move over. She must also never stop, and she must maintain an even pace. And she must not get in front of me, but rather, either stay by my side or back a ways. It was an instance of fits and starts, but we hit our stride on the upper road. I was pedaling and she was trotting. I think that she figured out that this was the way it was supposed to be.

Yep, today was the stuff the dreams are made of.

Next: 13. 1/13/18: The horse and the Bicycling Life (briefly) Converge

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