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By the trail

June 1st, 2014

I took my coffee and sat down at the picnic table a couple dozen steps from the trail. A 20-year-old birch tree shielded me from the morning sun. The pavement of the trail looked hot even at that early hour.

I appreciated what passes for silence in an urban park: only the distant din of traffic and the wind rustling through the leaves. A robin flew into my tree, sang a few ┬átimes, and flew off. An old man on a rusty department-store cruiser rode by, squeaking a response to the bird’s song.

Most of the cyclists on the trail were alone. There were exceptions. Couples on a slow helmet-less roll. Clubs of half a dozen whizzing past. A mother with her two young children, not far removed from trailing wheels. A father with his teenage son in matching Lycra kit, both on slick road bikes.

Some of the cyclists rode new carbon steeds. Others tooled around on whatever had been in their garages for the past couple of decades. Skill did not always match tools. A guy on a beat-up mountain bike flew by with a high cadence and a steady hand. A white-haired man with a paunch on a $10,000 Obrea tri bike strained along in the big chainring and little cassette cog.

Most riders gave a respectful “On your left!” to the pedestrians. Some were more inclined to treat their unmounted brethren as inconvenient pylons meant for passing as close as possible. Few dogs were on the trail; they played in the large green field behind me.

My coffee gone, I too set out on foot again.

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