I am a bit of a biking nut. I usually put on between 1200-1500 miles in a typical season, running from late April to late October. I bike to work almost every day, even though it's less than a two mile trip one way. Then, most nights I bike another 8-10 miles on the Glacial Drumlin trail near our house. It has become my nightly ritual, a way to decompress and work through the events of my day.
Evidently I am not the only regular out on the trail from night to night. I often times see the same people walking, biking, roller blading, or land-skiing. It's funny what I think about when I'm riding and seeing these people from day to day. Some of them communicate or acknowledge, while others just whiz by, intent on finishing their workout. I love to people watch anywhere I go, so this presents its own form of that. It is an interesting cast of characters, including:
- Carhartt T-Shirt Wearin' Guy. This guy walks with his iPod and while I don't see him every day, I see him quite often. It's my guess that he's walking to lose weight, as his build suggests. He always gives me a nod as I pass, and I do the same back. Not sure why it's almost always a Carhartt T-Shirt. Maybe he works there.
- Manic-Skinny-Workhard Girl. This girl is a hit or miss scenario from day to day, but when I see her, she is always straining forward on her bike in high gear with a look of determination, almost anguish, on her face. She's always hauling, certainly not out for a stroll. My guess is she's on a tight schedule and just wants the workout for workout sake.
- Native American Jogger Guy. Never really running hard, just kind of plodding along. It's weird, but I've only seen him jogging one direction. It must be a timing thing. He always give me a "low wave" like you see Harley Riders give each other on the road. I nod or give him a grip-the-handlebar half wave. It's a weird kind of mutual respect wave.
- Pale Old Rollerblade Dude. I'm not sure why this guy is so pale, being that he's out there most every day. Maybe he's big on sunblock. He always wears a helmet, so maybe he's big on safety all-around. I call him old because he looks older than me. I give him credit for getting it done though. Rollerblading is a workout, for sure.
- Recumbent Ricky. Another one of those guys I always see going the opposite way from me; never in the same direction. Seems very comfortable in his recumbent bike, annoyingly comfortable, actually. I've thought about going recumbent, but my wife assures me it skews OLD. Maybe my next bike, or maybe my bike in the next life.
- Asian Androgynous Ponytailed SheMan. This one whizzes by on their road bike at 20+ MPH almost every day, and I can never determine whether it is a man or a woman. He/She has a long black braided pony tail that is one of those that could go either way. They're always wearing androgynous biker-geek wear, so it's impossible to tell. For the record I'll just refer to her/him as Pat.
- Baseball Cap Organ Donor Guy. Always flying by at a good clip on his cross training bike, this 50-something wears a blue baseball cap backwards instead of a helmet. Now, I always wear a helmet. I got over the "cool" complex long, long ago. It's foolish not to wear one. If I wipe out, I want to be able to feed myself when I come out of my coma. A helmet could mean the difference between that and getting a spoon fed dinner from Nurse Ratchet. Seriously. Helmet, sunglasses and gloves are really all a biker has to protect him. I've had a couple of falls, and realized then how quickly it can happen. Put a skid lid on.
- Tall Skinny Orange Bike Guy. This guy is as regular on the trail as clockwork. Starts at 5:00 goes until 5:45. Same route, same outfit; cargo shorts, t-shirt, sneakers. Occasionally gets caught up in the beauty of the trail or some random wildlife and becomes a hazard to himself and others, but only occasionally. He warns when he's passing and always has pretty decent trail etiquette. He is me.
So it's an interesting cross section of loners, weirdos, workout fanatics and OCD personalities, but I've grown to love seeing them every day. They're my peeps.