LOOSELEAF LAUREATE: Ready to two-wheel the roads

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By Terri Likens, Editor

I have written about my hiking lately. Not counting dog walks and casual rambling, I logged 18 miles on the trail in one seven-day period recently.
But I believe in diversification, which is why I’m getting my two bicycles ready for riding soon.
I’ve been an avid cyclist since I learned to ride on my older sister’s navy-blue bicycle at age 5. I never was able to ride using training wheels, not with the classic parental hand steadying the seat.
But in a fit of stubbornness once, I picked up the bicycle, stepped up on the pedals and began to push my way through the front yard. The extra “oomph” it took riding through the lawn was just what I needed.
It was what I consider my biggest taste of freedom.
From then on, I pushed the boundaries of my little world, and bicycles are always still a comfort to my sometimes restless soul.
In my childhood on Pleasant Hills Drive, I could outrace anyone of any age in our downhill sprints on my purple second-hand bike.
At 11 and onward, I explored well past the familiarity of my neighborhood, taking long rides along the Kentucky River and into the hills of nearby communities.
In college, I regularly logged 70-mile rides – something I aspire to do again soon.
Roane County, I’m afraid, is not
as bicycle friendly as I would like, and I’m someone who used to ride in the traffic of Chicago without a second thought.
I’ve taken my bicycle to the paths of Knoxville and Oak Ridge, and I also like back roads (Sequatchie Valley) and dirt roads (Catoosa).
Both of my bicycles need a little attention, which they most likely will have received by the time you read this.
And soon, I’ll be logging road miles as well as trail miles in my exercise and mental-health regime.
I ask that you be careful around cyclists when you are in your car.
We try to stay out of your way, but sometimes small blemishes in the road are extra nasty hazards on a bicycle. That pothole that barely jars a motorist can fold the wheel of a bicycle.
If you have a bicycle, I hope you’ll get out on it and taste the freedom of the road.
If you see me on mine, smile and wave.