It's August in Missouri, so that makes it "trail days" for The Biker Babes, aka Psycho Bikers. It's the time of year when the Biker Babes and friends cycle across Missouri on the Katy Trail, a total of 225.1 miles, not that we were counting or anything.
This has been a tradition for me and my "babes" for a long time. This year I did not bike the trail and because of that, it had me reflecting on years past and what we've learned from these "trail days."
We spent considerable time making sure we had all the right gear, tools, food, and supplies and that our bikes and bods were trail ready. We psyched ourselves up and engaged in a lot of positive self-talk! And then the day finally came. We're ready to roll, but alas, we must pedal. This was definitely a peddling adventure.
Bicycling on the Katy provides cyclists with an up-close and personal tour of the heart of the Heartland, peddling slowly, oh so slowly, through prairies, farming communities, wildlife preserves, along the spectacular Missouri River Bluffs and right through Missouri wine country.
Where else could we learn about such places as Tightwad, Missouri? Apparently a banking mecca, we learned that people from all over the country have accounts in Tightwad. Who knew?
We enjoyed mild Missouri temperatures of only 90 degrees. We biked up never-ending hills. We got drenched in a thunderstorm one year that caked babes, bikes and gear with trail mud. We were even greeted by an inn keeper and his garden hose determined that muddy bikers would not destroy his B&B.
We remembered the 35th anniversary of Elvis' passing over outrageous hand-dipped milkshakes and savored world renowned Oatmeal Pancakes with Eldon and Maggie at Meyer's Bed & Breakfast. We also biked through the Missouri State Fair Grounds during the State Fair one year and met Betty, the bartender and esteemed inventor of the world's best tuna salad sandwich. We're talking seriously superior tuna salad here.
Every year we were joined by friends and family members all along the way; some to bike with us, some to eat with us, some to party with us and some to generally affirm that we were indeed psycho bikers. They didn't even seem to mind that we smelled like a herd of goats. True friends! Dear family!
Everything slows down on the trail. It's a part of the countryside where time truly stands still. We were never surprised to see an Amish family heading out in their horse and buggy. We fell into an easy retreat from the demands of our "normal lives." We discussed and decided that God most likely did not mean for us to be glued to our computer and tv screens or to be indoors all the time in conditioned air.
We appreciated the gift of time as we peddled along, hour after hour, day after day. Time on the trail is abundant and that makes space for reflection, renewal, contemplation and unhurried conversation. The trail tends to bring out the philosopher in all of us. One year this led to a great conversation about what we might learn from "the wise, old, peaceful trail." We made a top ten list and the biker babes agreed to share it. We hope you find a lesson from the Katy Trail you can use too!
The Biker Babes' Top Ten Lessons from the Katy Trail
- You can always bike faster than your personal best when trying to beat a thunderstorm or when there is a hand-dipped milkshake in your future.
- You can get just as wet trying to avoid the storm as you can cycling through it.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! And, don't forget to replenish those electrolytes.
- Food is fuel. Don't let your tank get empty.
- Laugh loud. Laugh often. (Ten miles of continuous laughter is our record to date.)
- Discouraging words are forbidden on the trail.
- The sun still comes up in the east on the Katy. Remember to check out the sun's location before heading out.
- Skunks are just as afraid of you and they hate it when you whistle a happy tune.
- Never brag about not having a bike wreck.
- And, finally, "just keep peddlin' till you can't peddle no mo'" -Thanks Geno!