Back in the Saddle- Anne Rides Again

Weekends in the country are a chance to recharge my soul. It’s a peaceful less hurried existence upstate- (mostly) unplugged, the birds and the sun are my alarm clock and the sunset is my evening “TV”. My friends Anne and Lenny joined me this weekend for a chance to recharge their batteries and just enjoy life at a different pace.

Discussing what to do on Sunday, Anne mentioned she might like to go for a bike ride. Not one to miss an opportunity to encourage my ‘non-bike’ friends to choose bikes, I jumped at the notion of getting her on a bike again and told her that we’d rent her a bike and ride the back roads. No backpedaling allowed.

Torey - owner of Rail Trail Supply Co

Torey – owner of Rail Trail Supply Co

Things got off to a slow start on Sunday, but eventually Anne & Lenny made it down the mountain to Millerton. We deposited Lenny at Irving Farm coffee house so he could get some work done and ambled over to the Rail Trail Supply Co to rent a bike for Anne.

Ronnie adjusts the seat for Anne

Ronnie making adjustments

I always love stopping by the Rail Trail Supply Co- Torey and Ronnie are just lovely. We all helped Anne select a bike. Ronnie adjusted the seat height a little lower for Anne in case she got nervous and felt the need to put her feet down. Torey asked Anne if she wanted a helmet. I told Anne she didn’t need one (she knows my stance, and I am educating her well on these matters). I was elated that Anne chose to go helmet free.

I secured Anne’s bag to my back rack and we were ready to roll. But not before I left a little message for other riders on the Harlem Valley Rail Trail.

Chalk courtesy of Ronnie

Chalk courtesy of Ronnie – next time I’ll do a better job drawing the bicycle

Riding the Rail Trail would have been the safest and easiest option for a ride, but I wanted Anne to really experience the full beauty of the Harlem Valley. I told her we were going to ride County Road 62 for as long as she was willing. My initial intention was to ride to friends who live near the start of the second leg of the Rail Trail (about 8 miles north of Millerton one way) but respected that between the heat (we were dealing with full sun on a hot afternoon) and the fact that Anne’s just getting ‘back in the saddle’ – that my aspirations might be a little grander than hers.

Atta Girl! Love that smile.

Atta Girl! Love that smile.

We pedaled up Main Street (yes, it really is the Main Street in Millerton) and over towards Route 62. Anne even tackled her first ‘hill’.

Easing out of Millerton

Easing out of Millerton

As we pedaled out of Millerton, the landscape starts to open up and well, it’s just gorgeous. I’ve pedaled this road many times. It was great to finally have company.

Spencer's Corners

Spencer’s Corners

Summer time fishing at Rudd Pond

Summer time fishing at Rudd Pond

The rhythm of life

The rhythm of life

County Road 62 sees almost no car traffic, the speed limit is 40mph (in comparison to Rt 22 which has a speed limit of 55mph and runs parallel to Rt 62), has gently rolling hills that aren’t too onerous and of course…the scenery. A perfect fit for Anne’s first ride in the country.

Chickens hiding in the shadows

Chickens hiding in the shadows

There are always pleasant surprises along the way. This is a farming community, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to encounter some kind of livestock.

Free range

Free range

Horses make us both smile

Horses make us both smile

Even some delights are new to me…such as this artwork banner on the side of a barn.

Cool artwork

Cool artwork

It was getting late in the day for Anne (they were planning to head back to the city) and her stamina was starting to flag, so we agreed to turn back. I just had one last vista I wanted to share with her.

Time to turn around

Time to turn around

On the way back, we ran into a little ‘traffic’.

Family Outing Rudd Pond

Family Outing Rudd Pond

We took a detour on Merwin Road so I could share a few more of my favorite valley views with Anne.

Merwin Road

Merwin Road

We had planned to stop at a farm stand, but due to the long winter we had this year- it’s still early in the growing season it was closed.

Merwin's Farm Stand

Merwin’s Farm Stand

As we got closer to Millerton, Anne mentioned how she was thinking of getting a bike for the city. Be still my heart! Getting one step closer to conversion. I told her when she’s ready that I’ll help her pick one out.

As we discussed ‘bike culture’ upstate versus the city, I indulged Anne by demonstrating my favorite VTL law to break – riding hands free.

Rebel with a cause

Rebel with a cause

As we reminisced about our childhood (Anne and I go back a long way) – we talked about how riding hands free was practically a requirement back then. If you couldn’t do it- you lost a notch in the cool factor. Anne decided to test the waters…

She's a rebel too

She’s a rebel too

…I’m happy to report I have some rebel company now.

Patiently and gently coaxing Anne along to that full conversion. Congrats Anne on getting this far. It’s lovely to have you along for the ride.


About bikepeacenyc

Just another NYer who is happier when on a bike. Gezellig fietsen. Advocate for Liveable Complete Streets.
This entry was posted in advocacy, bicycle upstate NY, cycle chic, social cycling. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Back in the Saddle- Anne Rides Again

  1. Dennie Reno says:

    I wish with all my heart I was thirty years younger and hadn’t smoked so many cigarettes because I would LOVE to join you in your adventures in the country or in the city,.It makes me so happy watching you two enjoy the freedom of both places. I’m so happy that Anne is joining you Liz in such wonderful adventures. What is it about riding a bike that gives such pleasure? I guess it’s the freedom and joy. Can’t wait to see your next adventure. By the way … would you translate Gezellig fietsen for me? Take care Liz….take care Annie. See you soon Anne, Maybe Liz should come with you guys to our mountain some time. I think that sounds like fun. Good luck you two….enjoy yourselves.

    • bikepeacenyc says:

      Dennie- when it comes to riding a bike for transport- in an ideal world there are no barriers. Cycling is for everyone. What gives me such pleasure in riding a bicycle? Well, you’ve hit it on the nose. It’s freedom & joy. I don’t have to depend on anyone but myself. It’s independence. It’s emancipation. Granted, in the US, we’ve a long way to go to make everyone feel comfortable and happy choosing a bicycle for transport. But the momentum has started and hopefully we can keep it going. Fight for better roads- roads designed with the most vulnerable users in mind.

      As for Gezellig Fietsen. Gezellig is a Dutch word that has no literal translation. When I lived there, my friends suggested that it implied a nice evening by candlelight with good friends with good food and good wine. I really don’t know how to explain it better- but it’s true. Fietsen = bicycles. So basically- I’m wishing to everyone who sees the chalk drawing: easy, nice and social cycling with good friends (or even on a solo journey).

      Would love to come to your mountain sometime…might even get Anne to pedal up the hill!

  2. Albert says:

    Lovely story. Forwarding it to my sister.

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