My bloggy friend, Jenny-Jenny, has been posting tons of photos lately of her amazing 70-mile bike rides through incredible scenery in Washington state.

So while I was out for a bike ride this afternoon, she got me thinking about how much our rides have changed. From the time I was a kid, biking was always one of my favorite activities. I would map out 10- and 20-mile rides around the little town where we grew up and ride for hours.

When my husband and I got married, we would spend our weekends exploring forest preserves and state parks on our mountain bikes. We would even plan our vacations around our bikes.

Before we had kids, we put our bikes on top of my red Pontiac Sunfire and we headed out on a two-week mountain biking vacation, starting in Utah. I had to take pictures of my photo album, so these photos aren’t great. But hey, at least I DID scrapbook back then, too!

Here I am at the top of the world in the Mountain Biker’s Promised Land, Moab, Utah. If you look behind me, you will see two naturally-formed bridges. Most visitors to the area would pay to have their bikes carried UP the mountain in a truck and then ride down.

But NOT us! That mountain was our first climb during our time in Utah.

This is my husband on the ascent.

Another photo from the top.

Next, we headed over to the north rim of the Grand Canyon and biked in the National Forest. You might not recognize the Grand Canyon in the background because most people visit the south rim, which is a desert. The north rim is much cooler and is a forest.

Our last stop was a ski resort in Colorado, which was converted into a mountain biking resort in the summer.

Yes… our rides have changed significantly. Now, one of us is usually pulling a bike trailer with at least one child for a 3-mile ride to the nearest park. If the kids ride their bikes, then we are usually riding circles around them at about 5 mph.

Jenny was reminding me about the time it takes to build up your tolerance to sit on the bike “saddle” for long stretches of time. I don’t even need my padded shorts anymore.

THIS is my bike of choice:

It’s my husband’s recumbent trike. It’s actually a ton of fun to ride. It’s as comfy as an easy chair, so you can sit in it for long stretches, like I did today as I rode 50 laps around a parking lot while my husband tried to teach one of our kids to ride without training wheels.

There are a few things you should know though about a bike like this.

1. People stare. And they shout at you. “Hey, I like your bike!”

2. Some people even drive their cars along beside you for miles until it’s safe to pull over so they can ask where you got the bike.

3. Because you are so low to the ground, it’s harder to see and to be seen. This also puts you more at eye level with pedestrians. And that seems to make them want to strike up a conversation as you ride past.

4. This bike doesn’t exactly turn on a dime. You have to leave extra room for wide turns.

5. It’s also very back-heavy. So, if you decide to sit still at the top of a hill, it will start rolling backward. And it can take all of your strength to make it stop.

So, Jenny, enjoy your beautiful scenery and 100-mile rides out there in Washington. And think of me here in the ‘burbs poking along with the kids on my trike.

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