A bike can be good for exercise, if it’s not broken

I’ve been trying to get in shape for hunting season, and part of my exercise routine involves riding my bike. But those training rides don’t always go smoothly.

Last week, I tossed my mountain bike in the truck to go get some exercise. I’m hoping to be in good enough shape to get through my elk hunt without going into cardiac arrest, and riding a bike is part of my exercise regimen.

I got to the trail I had planned to ride, but when I pulled my bike out of the truck, I realized the trip was a waste of time. I had two flat tires on my bike.

It reminded me of a time I didn’t get the advanced warning, though. On the way back to town, I recalled a bike ride with my wife and kids that didn’t go smoothly.

Back in those days, I often towed my kids along on my rides in their little bike trailer. On that trip, my wife went with us. She had been pretty good about encouraging me to get in shape without actually nagging me, and for that I was grateful. But it was kind of getting on my nerves that she was pedaling along with what seemed to be absolutely no effort whatsoever.

There I was, huffing along, dragging an extra sixty pounds, and there she’d go, zipping up the bike path like Lance Armstrong. To top it off, my oldest son made up a little song, the lyrics of which consisted entirely of “faster, daddy, faster!”

Then my bike started sounding funny. Every time I pushed on the pedals, I heard a clanking, grating sound coming from somewhere below me. I started to worry that the whole contraption would just evaporate beneath me, and I’d be run over by my own sons. Talk about an embarrassing way to check out.

But I got a little satisfaction as we were heading up the last hill to the truck. My wife was up ahead, riding like the path was flat, and my son was yelling at me to catch up to Mommy. I heard a *pop*-*fizz*, and I went past my wife like she was standing still. Well, that’s because she was. She’d run over a piece of mulch, and it had speared her back tire. It was the only time I passed HER on the whole ride. Sure, it was the result of an equipment malfunction, but it still felt pretty darn good. And right at the finish line, too.