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I have been legitimately concerned about the existence of a decent bike ride while on this trip. Temperatures in the 90’s with full sun have ushered me inside where I have remained comfortable in central air conditioning. But a week is a really long time to go without a ride. If you are someone who exercises regularly you know that your body begins to soften quickly if you don’t keep up your routine. Getting back on my bicycle after a week really takes something.

Some days we get on our bikes simply because we participate in the Endomondo Get Up & Ride National Bike Challenge. The Challenge aims to bring 50,000 people biking 10 million miles over the course of four months. There are currently over 27,000 people registered. Over 5.5 million miles have been ridden by these people since May 1, saving over 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and saving roughly $1.1 million in gasoline and car maintenance costs.

The Bike Challenge has levels of participation based on points earned. Points are earned 1 point/mile and 20 bonus points/day. I am currently at Gold status putting me in the running for certain prizes. Big J has also been at Gold status but needed one mile to reach Platinum, and a whole new collection of potential prizes (I’m about half way there). J took both kids out for a ride the other night, taking it slow through the development where my folks live. It was enough to get him just over that lip.

Today we were visited by lower temperatures and cloud cover. At lunch time we put a plan in place. Dad was taking C to a neighbor’s to swim while my stepmom kept an ear out for a napping little J. Big J and I headed out for a much needed date. We had an hour and a half and we planned to use it wisely! I donned my stepmom’s helmet and we rode the 5.5 FLAT miles to town. We sat in the local microbrewery with NO CHILDREN. J enjoyed a pale ale while I indulged in my go-to pub drink: a Shirley Temple. We sat, talking and laughing until it was time to head back. It was heavenly.

My folks live in what was once a very small equestrian town in western South Carolina. It has grown and sprawled, yet retained its traditional charm. My husband and I were deeply impressed by the generous and patient passing of local motorists. It was almost as if we were welcomed on the road. The flat terrain allowed for a rather quick journey, maybe 15-20 minutes each way. 5.5 mi at home takes me 30-35 minutes. My body absolutely protested today. It wasn’t until the tail end of the return trip that I finally began to feel like a bicyclist once again.

Riding alone with big J always feels like an incredible gift. It is a rare occurrence, one in which I take great joy. We beat our as yet untrodden path by bicycle. I never imagined I could love a piece of metal as much as I do today.