Myka trots alongside Renee’s bike, sometimes glancing up as if to say “am I doing this right?” She is, of course. She loves running alongside a bike.
It is an October evening. Cool, crisp, clear. It reminds me of why October is usually my favorite month. Not yet really cold, no longer the heat of summer. The scent of fallen leaves in the air. Renee and Myka are just a little ahead of me. We ride down Rollins to Beckwith.
My pants nearly catch in the bicycle chain, so I pull them up to my knee and expose my leg to the chilly air. It occurs to me that this is very different from the bicycling I used to do, years ago. I was never a particularly fast cyclist, but I used to at least dress the part. Now I can’t remember the last time I wore bicycling shorts. I haven’t pulled out my road bike in ages…it is always the sturdy mountain bike, able to hop across potholes and stop suddenly if the dogs demand it.
All my bicycling these days is always all about the dogs. We go at their speed — usually 6 to 12 miles per hour or so. We go just a few miles total. I love watching them trot along, so excited that we are finally going their speed, finally pulling our own weight and keeping up with the pack. Sometimes we each take a dog — Renee takes Abby or Sirus; I take Myka or Darwin. But tonight it is just Myka, out for some special one-on-one time.
I love the fact that there is no planning, no preparing. We just finish up whatever we are working on, grab the bikes from the garage, a dog on a leash, and head down the street. Even wearing pants that you have to pull up to your knee to keep the cuff out of the chain.
We leave the street at 1st street and turn onto the bike path. There is a bit of a hill here and Myka kicks it up to 15 mph. We cruise the rest of the way down to the river and head over to the Riverfront Trail Bridge. We stop at the middle to take in the river view. The area all around the bridge is littered with graffiti, but the view from the middle is great.
Myka shuffles about on her leash. I take phone pictures, but she blends in with Renee’s black pants. Maybe I can fix the exposure on the computer later. It doesn’t matter. We soak in the view, then head back, turn our ride into a little 3+ mile loop. Myka adjusts back to her “prancy trot.” She is too cute; I wish I had a handlebar-mounted video camera.
It is getting dark as we pull into the driveway at home. We have too much to do; cold weather is coming. We need to take the trailer in to be winterized. We should have packed it up today to get it ready, but we didn’t have time. We need to set up a tank in the greenhouse to save the pond plants before it gets too much colder. We spent the last month working on making a comfortable, warm home for the cats. It is overwhelming to think of it all. October is my favorite month, but it is brief and full of things that must be done before winter hits. It can be hard to stay in the moment and not panic.
But right now, it is a perfect October evening and the most perfect thing to do was take Myka on a bike ride.