I haven’t ridden a bike since I was a teenager, but a few weeks ago we had a couple of “comfort cruisers” from Ben’s Bikes delivered to the inn and headed out to the Olympic Discovery Trail. And let me tell you, riding a bike after 20 years is like…well, riding a bike. Once you learn how, you never forget…you just remember that you’re not 16 years old anymore, that the muscles you used to take for granted have shriveled, that your lung capacity is half of what it used to be, and that the whole thing was a stupid idea in the first place. And then you get over it and have a fun time in spite of yourself.
There is an entrance to the Discovery Trail a mile from Domaine Madeleine. It takes about 5 minutes to bike there with very little effort. The trail picks up as you head across a little bridge over a rivulet underneath the roadway. Charming. The bikeway is paved and well-marked and we continued through shady passages, along back fields, across another quaint covered bridge, and up a few slopes that necessitated learning very quickly what the different gears on the bike could do. I would be looking forward to those same slopes – heading downhill – on the way back.
Although the trail was not very far from the highway I traverse almost daily, my winding two-wheeled odyssey allowed me to see the area from an entirely new point of view. The breeze on my face, the lush scent of foliage, and the feeling of being free to explore previously unknown pathways gave me a nostalgic feeling. I could almost imagine that those last few decades had never really passed, that the road ahead was full of possibilities, both literally and figuratively, and that my destiny was entirely in my own two hands.
Eventually the present, and an unusually warm summer, caught up to me. Our water bottles were almost empty and before we reached the point of no return, we wisely decided to call it quits for the day and head for home feeling a good kind of tired. I’m looking forward to the bit of extra free time, and cooler weather, the end of summer and early fall brings. I’ll be heading back to the Discovery Trail again. Maybe it’s not the Fountain of Youth… but there’s magic out there that you can only tap into when you’re on two wheels.