What better way to celebrate of our nations 236th birthday than to enjoy the freedom of a bike ride with great friends. Bicycles and Independence day are forever linked, and continue to be a time honored tradition for me.
Our spirited 40 mile ride this morning made me very nostalgic, remembering simpler times growing up in the Western suburbs of Chicago, recalling very fond memories of the entire community of Riverside gathering at the “big ball park” for parades and a host of other festivities, highlighted by bicycle decorations and the big cross town fireman battle, where the North Riverside fire department would valiantly battle our own fire department in a very wet version of tug of war. Nothing felt better than getting sprayed by those fire hoses on a hot steamy July afternoon!
I remember spending hours decorating our bikes with colorful streamers and flags, and then parading them around town earning smiles and adoration from all our neighbors and friends. I remember friendly competitions where neighbors would pit their best pie recipes against each other only to be quickly devoured later during the pie eating contests. And lets not forget the fun one could have eating and spitting water mellon seeds…bragging rights were vigorously defended. Oh and the food, whether it was well packed picnic baskets or a hot charcoal grill with sizzling burgers, dogs, steaks and kabobs, all culinary tastes were satisfied.
Times may have changed, but I continue to reach for my trusty bike on the 4th. Sure it may not be that brilliant red Schwinn Bantam, but it still feels just as special, even without all the patriotic streamers.
Happy 4th of July to all!
Ride Time: 2:16:15
Stopped Time: 1:07:24
Distance: 38.53 miles
Average: 16.97 mph
Fastest Speed: 26.59 mph
Ascent: 911 feet
Descent: 867 feet