Sure, criminals fleeing the scene can ride their bikes mighty fast, but what about 40-something, out-of-shape journalists? As I discovered this morning, uh, not so much.
Consider this a cautionary tale if, like me, you're a weekend warrior who thinks it is a quaint notion to start riding a bike around town again, especially considering those nasty gas prices and the whole going green thing. Just ask yourself this question: Do you have the pedal power to get where you're going ... and also get back?
Amid gasps, I was asking that very thing, chugging uphill (both ways) to my 7 a.m. tennis match in Monticello. Funny how when you're in a car you don't much notice if you're going uphill or downhill -- or that there are any hills at all in Texas.
Trust me, there are. And my legs were screeching for mercy as I pedaled up the subtle rises in Arlington Heights and back up Seventh St. ... And that was just on the way there.
After playing two sets, I had my doubts about whether I'd make it home.
In fact, during one steep incline along Seventh near Montgomery St., my legs just quit and I had to hop off the new Schwinn and walk it a block. It wasn't that humiliating. Except for the construction workers who were pointing and laughing.
And besides, I noticed Piola's, an Italian restaurant in a little cottage, that I'd like to go back and try.
Needless to say, I made it home and to work, but a 3-mile ride to the tennis court took about 30 minutes on the way home. So, before you saddle up the Schwinn and strap on a goofy helmet, like I did, maybe go for a walk or do some sit-ups.
It might keep that first leisurely bike ride from being like an episode of Survivor.