Calvin surprised me yesterday.
After our usual Sunday morning routine (him – newspaper; me – book/web surfing), we showered up and went out to grab some lunch and run some errands. We ate at Taco Bell (yes, I know, I know, not very health conscious of us), and as we were leaving Calvin said, “The only thing you had planned was to go to Pets Inc. to get a rat and some worms, right?” I confirmed, and asked if he had something in mind that he’d like to do for the afternoon. He said he did, and when I asked, “What?” he replied, “You’ll see.”
He turned the truck around and headed back toward the house, and as he backed the truck into the driveway he said, “Go grab some towels so the bikes aren’t rubbing against each other.” So I hopped to, changed my pants into something more comfy for riding than jeans, got a couple of water bottles, and grabbed some cushioning materials.
It’s a bit of a struggle fitting the bikes into the back of the truck, but with some maneuvering and cursing we managed it well enough.
We headed towards Tempe, and Calvin asked if I’d prefer Tempe Town Lake or Papago Park as a destination. I chose Papago, since, even though the Zoo and the Botanical Gardens are part of the same complex, I’d never been to the actual park before (except for a small part of it that Heather and I went to once with our puppies – I wanted to point that out before she called me on it for forgetting).
We pulled into the parking lot right under the butte and had just gotten out to finagle the bikes out of the back when we heard, “OH NO! Ow! Ouch! Oof! OOF! OUCH! OWOWOWOWWWWW!” We looked up at the butte and saw a teenager in an uncontrolled decent down the final steep part of the mountain. People fall off the thing all the time – they go up to the park to picnic, want to climb up to the Hole-in-the-Rock (there’s a lovely picture of it here) in their slick street shoes or sneakers, and underestimate how steep it is to get up and down the thing. This kid was no exception. He fell probably ten or fifteen feet, apparently banged up his knee, but with some adroit sympathy from fellow climbers and his family, he was deemed fit after about ten minutes or so.
So Calvin and I, figuring we weren’t needed to dial 9-1-1 or anything, hopped on our bikes and started cruising around. It was cool enough that Calvin had to turn back for his sweatshirt, and clouds hid the sun every now and then and threatened showers. We did get sprinkled on a tiny bit, but by then we were warmed up and the damp was kind of refreshing. We wandered around the park a bit, then happened upon the paved bike path that circles the park. There are several excellent views of the Zoo and Tempe and the Botanical Garden and Hunt’s Tomb from various aspects along the path. Most of it was fairly easy going terrain, but there were a couple of hills steep enough that I needed to take a pause at the top and suck some air into my limp lungs.
Yeah. I am SO out of shape. Calvin hardly puffed at all. Dammit.
After about an hour we headed back to the truck and called it a day. It was a good easy start to what I hope will become a weekend routine. Calvin seems to be enthusiastic about it – enough so that he ordered a 2-bike hitch mount bike rack so we don’t have to keep loading the bikes into the back of the truck. We’ve talked about a few places in the Valley we’d like to go, and we’ll take road trips up north to Sedona and Flagstaff when the weather gets too hot to stay around home.
Per MTAE’s warning, my seat is pretty darned uncomfortable, but my butt only hurts when I actually sit on the bike, not all the time. I’m gonna get me one of these. And I need a bike lock if I’m going to ride to work. And I’d like a computer that tells me distance so I can track my riding progress. And I need a helmet. And some of those neat cyclist shorts with the padding in the butt. And… and… and…
Let’s see if this enthusiasm continues, shall we?