Last weekend, Pete and I celebrated our 5-year anniversary with a bike adventure along the Virginia Creeper Trail. Mom gave me her bike a couple years ago, and last year, Dad gave Pete his old bike with one caveat: we take the bikes on a trip and write a 3-5 page report on it. Nothin’s free, you know. Gotta work for these things! Here’s the report I handed in:
The Maiden Voyage
by Peter & Tiffany Jothen
with appearances by Tar Trek & Basket Case
One sunny Saturday, Peter and Tiffany set out for a long-awaited and somewhat mandatory adventure—beginning, as all good adventures do, with a three-hour tour into the wild backwoods of Damascus, Virginia.
Just a few hours later, they arrived. The pair parked and met Dave, a male version of Mom who offered to drop them off at a good starting point along the Creeper Trail. He talked a lot and told them which restaurants were “on down that way” as the three of them drove through town.
Fifteen minutes and four life stories later, Peter and Tiffany climbed out of Dave’s Subaru and unleashed their companions from the metal prison on the back. Tar Trek and Basket Case were meant for the open road.
With instructions from Dave to “call if anything happens,” the two courageously began their journey with a herd of training wheels hot on their tail.
Tiffany pedaled hard and fast, determined not to let anyone under 12 pass her on the left. Peter was in a glorious daze, meditating on his love for Tiffany.
On they pedaled, over the river and through the woods. They braved narrow wooden bridges and effortlessly navigated uneven gravel trails. They quickly broke a sweat and lamented leaving the Lycra at home. But no matter. The rugged outdoors were calling.
Soon, it was time for lunch. The lovebirds pulled out their compass and located a picnic table in the clearing. Civilization!
Ever-prepared and germ-conscious, Tiffany dug out the citrus-scented hand sanitizer from her backpack and proudly presented it to Peter. He declined, instead opting to handle his PB&honey sandwich the manly way—with dirty hands blackened by the handlebars.
But Tar Trek and Basket Case didn’t rest long.
With full bellies, Peter and his amazingly awesome wife were stoked to get back on track. No, not even wind resistance or melting sunscreen could break their vicious cycle. Their impeccable form was—as young people might say—“off the chain.”
They wheeled around 90-degree curves, dodged wild cattle and sped through dangerous intersections off the beaten path. Their heads were spinning with the overwhelming grandeur of the great outdoors, right there along Highway 58. Yes, these were the untamed elements that our forefathers spoke of generations ago.
But let’s shift gears for a moment.
As with any form of exercise, people can get tired.… However, that didn’t happen for Peter and Tiffany, who enjoyed uninterrupted endurance thanks to their Superman-like thighs of steel.
Instead, on this adventure, the bikes were the ones that needed breaks.
Being the considerate people they are, Peter and Tiffany decided to acquiesce to their silent request and dismount in front of Old Alvarado Station, the perfect pit stop for experienced cyclists. They bonded with local youth and shared apple slices with a group of unruly cycle thugs, who returned the kindness with matching flame-patterned bandanas.
About four hours later, 20 miles from whence they began, the maiden voyage of Tar Trek and Basket Case drew nigh. Peter and Tiffany took the time to reflect on the afternoon behind them—the good times, the uphill battles, the rough terrain they had conquered together with only one water bottle and two tangerines to keep them going. (Oh, and some nuts. And apples. And sandwiches. And Pete had two cookies.)
Yes, this is the stuff America is made of, folks. Foraging new frontier on twin Schwinns. Braving unknown territory when the GPS loses its signal. Putting our cellphones on vibrate and saying, “No, I won’t take that call! Not until I get back to the car.” Standing up for the freedom to ride.
… Oh shoot, this is four pages. A whole page more than the minimum requirement! Does this count as my conclusion?