Saturday, January 06, 2007

Beauty and the Bike

It's the middle of January, and I just returned from a lovely bike ride on the Alpharetta Big Creek Greenway. There was a slight chill, but 'twas really downright balmy for January. A few clouds, but mostly bright and blue. Definitely could drive with the windows down.

I don't get outside often enough. My job keeps me indoors, and frankly I don't mind all that much, but when I get the chance to ride my bike on a good-weather day, I like to take it. And I usually like to drag parts of my family along, too.

I couldn't persuade any of them to go today, but I really wasn't trying that hard. I wanted to bring my new Meizu MiniPlayer with me, and that's a solitary endeavor, right? You can't very well listen to the DAP on a ride with other folks, especially family.

For me, few things are more enjoyable than riding a bike on a beautiful, i.e. cool but sunny, day listening to great tunes on a portable music player. DAP's avoid the Doppler effect. The music stays right with you as you try to move away from it. Plenty of songs sound great on a bike, but today I embraced the 70's. Steve Miller, ELO, Parliament, Al Green, Joni Mitchell, and the Staples Singers, among others.

In particular, Al Green and Mavis Staples made me so happy on the bike trail that I guess I was smiling a lot, because I received smiles from plenty of other folks on the trail, too, all of whom I thought I recognized, none of whom I actually did.

Is it any wonder Prince tried to revive Mavis Staples' career?

I love the Alpharetta bike trail. There's a creek -- a Big one, apparently -- that runs alongside it. In the summer, snakes are plentiful. It's always exciting to see one, and we always see at least one on any given trip. Most of the six-mile trail is paved but there's a certain swamp-like section comprised of twisty, wooden slats that are fun to navigate. The trail runs behind Northpoint Mall, various Alpharetta business parks and the usual McMansion subdivisions.

I have a touch of the flu on this day, so even though the entire ride was mostly perfect, the snot would tend to build up periodically. Finding an unpopulated stretch and snorting it out provided enormous relief and the occasional burst of energy that puts my butt in the air, my weight forward, the handlebars seemingly touching the ground with each pump of the pedal, finally reaching the pinnacle of one of the many bridges over that winding creek, and leaning back on the seat, straightening the spine, the wind on my face, coasting down with hands on hips while Al Green sings of Love and Happiness...

Life is beautiful.

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