A bike ride today?

Today’s supposed to be cooler than it has been (not 90ºF), and I’m thinking that, because my doctor’s out of town and the climbing gym’s closed today, I’m either going to take to the hills and find a boulder or five to climb or go for a longer bike ride.  Either one would do for me today, but I should probably practice riding my bike some more, since the whole point of me getting it was so that I could commute back and forth to the climbing gym and other places instead of driving, and so far, that plan has completely fallen through.  I need to spend some quality time with my bike, getting to know it and letting it get to know me.  I have to break it in good before I take it for a warranty tune-up, which it’s due for in about a month and a half or so.

It’s ridiculous that I can’t ride a bike anymore, I know.  If you don’t use it, you lose it, though, and that goes for any skill!  I used to be a really good mountain bike trail rider, but I haven’t done that in over 10 years!  It’s been about 13 years since I did any of that.  My ADV 3.1 is a road bike, too, which means it has drop handlebars.  I’ve never dealt with drop handlebars before, but I’m going to figure them out.  I’m doing this through trial-and-error methods.  Some of the errors have been painful and embarrassing, but those are what make good stories later on!  “How I Learned To Ride A Touring Bike The Hard Way” could be a hit on the New York Times Bestsellers List someday!!!  I have to do this myself, though, because if I don’t, there’s no point.  I want to be able to go bikepacking at some point and if it’s not this summer, then it will be next summer, but I’m going to do it!!!  I think it’s an adventure I want to experience in my life, and it goes along perfectly with climbing.  Climbing is my true love and biking can be part of my freedom within the walls of this prison that modern society can be.  I like my creature comforts, but I also love nature, and it appears that if enough people don’t “use nature”, then the funding will be provided by the government or some big multinational corporation to destroy it out from under us.  A sad state of affairs is what it is, but it’s true.  I sit and wonder how people can look at a beautiful mountain or a great crag and want to destroy it for the purposes of “development”.  I don’t think that way.  I never have.  But those of us who think in defense of nature have to act in defense of it!!!  That’s why I want to spend more time outdoors, both on my bike and climbing.  Granted, I need a pathway, probably manmade in nature, to ride my bike on, but it doesn’t have to be at the expense of a natural wonder or the crags I love to climb!  It shouldn’t be!!!  Anyway, I’ll step down, but not away, from my soapbox for now.  I really think I should try an actual bike ride today.

So…I need to get an idea of the kind of route I’d like to take for my bike ride…or not.  I could just meander through the streets of Billings on my bike, remaining on the side streets as not to get run over by some redneck motorist or overzealous pro cyclist who thinks they need the bike lane, if there is one.  The problem with Billings is that there are bike lanes and shared lanes in growing numbers, but none of these locations are connected to each other in any kind of network.  You alway have to take your life in your hands for at least a few blocks every time you want to get from one safe-er bike zone to the next.  And these aren’t small transitions or single-lane events!!!  We’re talking about crossing five lanes of traffic in poorly-designed intersections that are busy all the time!!!  There is no “good” time to navigate these roadways, even if you’re in a motor vehicle!!!

What I really need to do is find a good bike route from my apartment to SteepWorld, the climbing gym.  That’s what I’ll work on today.  That sounds like a worthwhile challenge!!!

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