TGIF

If there is one thing that is sure to put me in a funk, it is January.  Just like some people are not morning people, I am not a January person.  I can not seem to get anything accomplished in January and my motivation drops below sea level.  The fog in my brain never lifted enough to pick up a pen or pluck at my keyboard.  So, TGIF – Thank goodness it’s February!  I woke up this week with a renewed sense of direction and am filled with optimism for the coming year.  In fact, I think I will start the new year anew by celebrating the Chinese New Year this Sunday February 10th.

Of course many people start the new year off with New Year’s resolutions.  I could not come up with any, other than the usual live in the moment and be a better person until I was out on my bicycle earlier this week.  Like I have said in earlier blogs, I have a mountain bike which I ride on the street.  This year I resolve to change that…I am going to hit the dirt!  One reason that I ride on the street is that it is easier.  I just hop on my bike and go. No having to load up the bike and search out trails.  It is hard enough to carve out time to ride with a teenager to chauffer around and a toddler hanging off my leg.  But this year somehow I am going to find some time to hit a few trails though because it just sounds fun.  Also, it will give me something new to think about and get motivated about.

My other resolution is to continue to get outside with my kids.  A couple weeks ago I took Ginger, now 4, on her first real hike.  We carried backpacks with a picnic and took a short hike to a nearby waterfall.  She was so excited to go on a “big girl” hike and can’t wait to go again.   I am a strong believer in getting kids out in nature.

I am not a great photographer, but I came across a picture recently that I want to share  that I took last March or April while on a hike with my teenage son.  It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen….thousands of ladybugs covering the ground, bushes and nearby trees.  So get out this year and hit a few trails whether on your bike or on foot…you never know what you might see!

DSC01072

Bicycles….not just for exercise

           Generally, I think of my bike as an exercise device, albeit an enjoyable one. However, on any given day around the world thousands, probably even millions, of people get on their bicycles and head out the door to work, to do shopping, to visit friends, make deliveries…you get the point.  It is a major mode of transportation for many. 

             The first bicycles came into being as people began to explore alternatives to the horse as a mode of transportation.  One of the earliest bicycles made had no pedals and was nicknamed a “hobby horse”.  In 1865 a version with pedals attached directly to the front wheels came on the market and was known as a velocipede, although it was more commonly called “boneshaker” since it was made entirely of wood and later versions had metal tires.  I can only imagine the jarring ride it produced on dirt or cobblestone roads.  Around 1870 the first machine to be called a bicycle was made.  Most of us have seen pictures of these early contraptions with a very large front wheel in comparison to the rear. They were made of metal with rubber tires and were quite expensive, making them available only as toys for wealthy big boys.

             Continued tinkering with the design and components saw the bicycle take hold in the 1890’s as a viable means of transportation for the working class and as a leisure activity.  Women even took to riding them, which led to changes in clothing design and confining elements such as the corset and bustle became a thing of the past.  I’m quite sure that the gentlemen who designed these bicycles did not realize how much of an impact they were having toward the women’s equality movement. 

            Recently, my husband and I discovered an enjoyable, not much of a workout, use for our bikes when we took off to town for some wine tasting.   I live in a town where there are more than 25 wine tasting rooms all within walking distance of each other so not much riding is required but is does add to the fun and is a fairly safe way of getting home post wine tasting.  We limit ourselves to two tasting rooms per outing.  Any more than this and your tasting starts to get skewed by the amount of wine consumed and since we live so close we know we can always go back another day.  Tercero and Pres’quile were our choices for this day.  You won’t find these brands in your local wine aisle as they are both low production boutique wineries, but you can buy from then online through their websites.  My favorites were at Pres’quile, a pinot noir rose and an estate pinot noir.  Yes, I am partial to those pinots.  What I love about wine tasting though is that there is generally a lot of camaraderie.  We always meet interesting people and have lively conversations with others in the tasting rooms.  In fact, if we don’t feel a friendly vibe when we first walk into a tasting room we will turn around and leave. 

Of course tasting wine often leads to purchasing wine and we discovered that the water bottle cage is the perfect size for holding a bottle of wine! 

           Cheers to those bicycle inventors for bringing us such a versatile and fun mode of transportation!  I’m sure we’ll be riding uptown again soon.