I hauled my bike over to the Cannon Valley Trail today to ride all by myself, something I don't do very often. The whir of my bike wheels and the ticking of my gears got me into a meditative mode as I rode the nice, flat trail. The trees formed a canopy overhead, the leaves crunched under my wheels, my pace was fast, my spirits high and I realized I was on one of the best rides of my short biking career.
Then I started to wonder, what is a best ride? Is there such a thing as THE best ride? Like the very best that can't be topped? Or are there different kinds of "best" rides, like the fastest ride or the longest ride? Can the best ride be a whole month of rides, like I'm doing for 30 Days of Biking, rolled all together to create a best? Maybe the best ride is in an beautiful location, like Italy. Or maybe it involves riding a great race or setting a record. What makes a ride a best ride? I'm really not sure.
But then I thought back to yesterday's ride, the ride I call "The Ride in the Rain with Ryan" and I think I may have this "best" thing figured out....
My family is doing the 30 Days of Biking challenge and are still going strong. All of us - me, my husband and our two kids, Rose and Ryan - have ridden our bikes every day since September 1st. We don't have to go far or fast. We just need to get out there and ride. So far it's been pretty easy to fit the rides into our days but yesterday presented a few challenges.
We planned to ride before school but it was raining and the kids were tired. So we decided to ride after school and church activities figuring we'd be home around 6:45 and have plenty of time to ride together. Then we realized Rose's church activities went until 8:15. Oh. Bummer. So we changed plans and Ryan and I headed home early to ride. Owen and Rose, we figured, could come home later and ride in the dark with bike lights so they would be safe.
With our plan in place Ryan and I headed for home.
On the drive home it started pouring rain with no sign that the rain would let up soon.
Uh oh. Now what do we do?
"We'll just have to ride in the rain," I told Ryan, trying to sound cheerful even though I wasn't too thrilled with the idea myself.
"That's okay," he said, unconcerned.
"We'll get soaked and the neighbors will think we are insane," I told him.
"That's okay because we are insane!" he replied, smiling not at all insanely. "I want to ride in the rain!"
Oh. Well. In that case I guess we'd better get to it.
By the time we got home it was not only raining but getting dark. Wanting to be safe, we devised a plan. Ryan and I decided to ride just in the driveway and we'd turn on all the garage lights and open the garage doors to let out the light as well as turn on the yard light so we could see. I hooked a bike light to the front of Ryan's bike so he could see even better.
Plan in place, we put on our helmets and sat on our bikes under the garage overhang and looked out into the rainy night. I was cold. I didn't want to get wet. I started to wonder if we should just bike in the garage. Or skip the 15th day of 30 Days of Biking completely. No one would know, I figured. I could ride twice tomorrow, I reasoned. But Ryan was raring to go. He encouraged me with a "Come on, Mom. Just ride out there and do it! You won't feel wet after awhile."
So we rode into the pouring rain. In the almost dark. Through puddles. In circles. And we laughed so loud I'm sure the neighbors DO think we're crazy. And maybe we are. Just a little.
But you know what? I don't care.
That short, cold, ride in the pouring rain with my eight-year-old son will never hit the bicycling record books as great. But guess what? It was one of the best bike rides. Ever.