To quote the great Freddie Mercury, “I want to ride my bicycle”

According to MapMyRun.com (don’t ask me why I don’t use MapMyRide.com… the site never worked for me in the beginning and now I can’t transfer my account over), I’ve bicycled – outdoors – over 9,600 miles; 1.29 months of my life. And those stats only go back to May of 2011. I’d been biking regularly nearly a year before that, having purchased my bike and helmet in July 2010.

She’s a steel frame 21 speed Diamondback Serene Citi II with 26” rock/chip gravel friendly tires. I love her. And I named her. She and I have pedaled out in all spokes of directions from Greenville across Bond County.

A unique tombstone for a child featuring boots and sunhat in Maxey Cemetery east of Greenville – November 2013. Gravestones shaped like tree stumps symbolize a life cut short.

We’ve visited historic cemeteries, country churches, sprawling farms, sleepy former mining towns and dairy meccas. We’ve raced freight trains – parallel roads of course, flushed out deer, chipmunks, and eagles. We’ve frowned upon inconvenient road work altering our pre-mapped route but so much more often we’ve cheered at an unexpected discovery about our big backyard. Traveling at only 11 miles per hour is the ideal speed to spot the beautiful details of the countryside (and also the city!) and to cover enough ground each week to seldom encounter monotony.

overpasses along route 40 are great viewing platforms for trainspotting
a visit to Maxey Cemetery east of Greenville – November 2013

On days I’m less than eager to get out there, I plead to remember the scientifically proven benefits of bicycling. “When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.” I’ll get happy, stronger, and probably have a breakthrough in whatever work or writing puzzle is bugging me at the moment… and I’ll earn a cheat day!

Even my ggg-uncle Charley and ggg-aunt Elizabeth partook of bicycling! More on them in an upcoming genealogy-themed post…

Siblings of my maternal gg-grandfather Henry Arthur Smull – c1899 Macon, Illinois

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