Pedal Power

Bicycling has always been close to my heart. From the first moment that I learned to ride an old, heavy, red, hand-me-down bicycle, I fell in love with the sport. The excitement of being able to propel down a road as fast as you can, through your own pedal-power, is a powerful feeling to have.

One of my favorite movies from my teen years was a film titled “Breaking Away.” It was about a group of friends who had just graduated from high school, and they were all following their different paths in life to adulthood. One of these young men liked to ride racing bicycles and won a few races around his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. He fancied himself to be like an Italian bicycle racer, and he even acted like one by listening to Italian opera music, speaking Italian to his parents and shaving his legs. In one of the memorable scenes from the movie, he’s training on a highway and manages to ride in the draft of a tractor trailer until he was traveling over the 55-miles-per-hour speed limit. Now, I know that may be possible, and it is hard to believe, but what a heady experience that could be. Of course, I imagined I could perform the same feat.

Well, it’s about 20 years later, and I don’t think I have the young legs to undertake a stunt like that, but being on my bike now and challenging myself to go that extra mile and climb that extra hill still gives me a thrill and a sense of accomplishment. The feelings of independence and freedom are wonderful, and those of you who also enjoy riding bicycles know the feeling that I’m attempting to describe.

The Highlander Cycle Tour, which you can read about on page 18, is a bike ride that I’ll do this year with my wife and friends. Actually, the Highlander itself is one of the most challenging centuries (100-mile bike rides) in the entire country, and luckily they also have another long ride with fewer hills called the Lowlander, which we will ride.

This sport is just one of the ways that folks around here can enjoy this beautiful area. I never experienced such nice roads to cycle on as in the Finger Lakes region. When you’re out and about enjoying the wineries and autumn colors, give your fellow cyclist leaf-peepers a wave and kindly “hello.” Whether you go exploring this fall under your own power or by vehicle, enjoy these beautiful Finger Lakes surroundings we call home.