Last Friday we went on another bike ride to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Practice makes near-perfect. I’m becoming more comfortable riding bikes which is a good thing since my knees and feet no longer want to walk the miles we used to at the Refuge.
I rode bikes when I was growing up in New York, but I’m wasn’t then and am not now mechanically inclined. Cue my husband who patiently provides guidance on how to adjust the front and back derailleurs so I don’t fatigue my legs to the point of exhaustion … which is what I was doing on this latest bike ride.
The wind was against us … literally … until we got off the bayous trails and turned right toward the Pinhook River. The bayou trails can be grassy and soft. At one point I was riding slow, got distracted and felt my bike come to a stop. Now, for me, if my bike comes to a stop when I’m not ready, that can only mean one thing: I’m going to fall. Luckily, I was able to get my right toes on the ground. Unluckily, I was stuck on my seat. If I moved my right foot, I would fall. So I yelled to my husband and he came to the rescue, holding my bike handles until I could ease myself off the seat.
Luckily, no one but my husband was around to witness my humiliation.
The second time, I wasn’t so lucky and, more unluckily, I fell while on a small concrete bridge where we had stopped to take a break. I’m not sure what happened, only that I had gotten on my bike, the front tire turned when I didn’t want it to, and I couldn’t press the pedals hard enough to put the bike back in motion. I knew I was going to fall, and I did. Pretty hard on my right knee and elbow. Luckily, it was a cool day so I had layers on, although my knee still got some serious road rash (it’s been over a week and the scrape is still healing while the area below my knee displays a changing palette of yellows, blues, and purples).
After these two episodes of near- and definite falling, I adjusted my derailleurs per my husband’s suggestions.
I took fewer photos on this trip. I was too busy enjoying the views. The thistles were still in glorious abundance, alligators were here and there (but mostly there, thankfully), and the day was just lovely.
These photos were taken early on our ride, where the thistles were plentiful. You all know I’ve got a jones for close-ups, especially when insects are about.
See how industrious and tenacious this little busy bee was.
Here’s a panoramic at the intersection of a couple of trails. You can see why we keep coming back.
A view of the other side of the trail to the left.
On our way back to the car, we stopped for a moment and I took this photo. The light seemed particularly lovely right there.
And now for a Raji update!
Your eyes do not lie. That’s Raji and Junior “spooning.” Now, Junior really wasn’t thrilled that Raji wanted to snuggle, but we thought it was adorable! Every day we say how lucky we are that Raji is Raji: a lover, not a fighter. He’s also getting used to being petted, brushed and picked up. When he lived in the garage, he loved to be petted and brushed. When he came into the house, he shied away from both activities for a long while, but we’re wearing him down with love and patience.
Hope you all are well, happy, and healthy. Stay safe!
Marie A Bailey
Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.