Participating in recreational activities when I was a kid always meant I played outside. Usually with friends, and generally until dark, coming home only after hearing my mom yell dinner was ready.
Participating in outdoor activities as an adult has meant gear. In fact, any outdoorsy activity in the past few years (for me, anyway) has meant pretty specific gear. Snowboarding, cross country skiing, mountain biking, road biking, swimming, running, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and triathlons each has its own long list of equipment, clothing, and footwear. Even hiking – really just walking with a view – “requires” special shoes.
Going for a mountain bike ride at a minimum involves changing into bike shorts, technical shirt, socks, windbreaker, and shoes that clip into my pedals. I need to dig out my hydration pack and bladder, de-funk and fill it, and grab my helmet and gloves. Then it’s into the garage for the actual bike, and a quick check of the tires, chain, brakes, and the handy bag that is strapped to the seat with emergency supplies (hint: make sure said supplies are in the pack, and not used up on your last trip). Then I can go for a ride.
Granted, this is not a big deal. I like to ride my bike, and I appreciate the creature comforts I have acquired for this activity. But this weekend, after a day filled with chores and busy work, I wanted to go for a quick bike ride before the sunset. I strapped on my helmet, pulled the bike out of the garage, and off I went in my jeans and t-shirt.
There was something wonderful about just getting on my bike and going for a ride. No special shoes, no fancy padded pants – just a girl on her bike, pedaling fast through the neighborhood with her dog running alongside. I made my way around the meadow behind my house, following the river on the muddy single-track. It felt like pure fun, not a workout. I felt 12. I felt awesome.
As this was Thanksgiving weekend, I was probably more aware than usual of the importance of gratitude in my life. I am grateful that I have things like a bike and the accompanying safety equipment. I am grateful I have the physical ability to participate in activities at a level I enjoy. I am incredibly grateful I was able to remind myself to have fun, and I don’t need to wait until everything is dialed in perfectly to get going.
Just don’t get me started on my snowboarding gear…
Georgette is a South Lake Tahoe resident and the newly-minted marketing coordinator for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. She loves life outdoors and can usually be found exploring Tahoe South with her dog Jersey.