I live in a town with around a 15-mile square radius. And in this town, the parks and rec department maintains 18 miles of continuous, wide, paved biking/walking trails.
We live in a 3rd floor apartment, so it's no small feat to haul our bikes down, but I'm finding it is worth it. The other day, I lugged my bike down the stairs and set off. It was a beautiful day with lots of sun and a little extra wind. I cycled along appreciating the wildflower weeds growing around, the bridges over little streams of water, the parks dotting the trail. I stopped to read for awhile. I was hot and tired by the time I returned home, but I'd easily put in about 9 miles.
I've owned my ten-speed for over half of my life. It was a huge surprise for my 13th birthday (a time in my family's life when money was a bit tight). We went camping for my birthday that year and not long before we were supposed to be leaving, I was blindfolded and led outside to my awaiting bike. I was absolutely shocked and so thrilled!
All these years later, she is still a quality bike, but she's a little worse for the wear. The painted lettering has flaked off; the handlebars need new grip tape; one of the gear shifting wires is missing and therefore it isn't actually a ten-speed bike right now; the tires are starting to crack; the brakes are a little worn down. Much of this can be repaired and replaced and really I should (some just for safely reasons!). Some days I want a new bike, but there is something so sweet about looking at my navy blue bike and being reminded of that time in my life and the generous gift my parents so lovingly gave me.
6 hours ago