I was up and astride my Cannondale Hybrid bicycle at 5:27 a.m. this morning. The air temperature was in the sixties; scattered clouds were being shoved about by stiff breezes. The Cannondale is a recent acquisition - my old Mongoose lived through one too many crashes, and it felt so heavy and clunky on the roads and bike trails. As its name implies, the Hybrid is a cross between a fat-tire mountain bike and a skinny tire road racer. It is still sturdy but not as heavy as the Mongoose. I can actually keep up with some of the Lycra-suited dandies on their $5,000 racers.
My goal on these rides is to sweat. I am not dawdling and gazing at the surroundings. But this morning was impossible to ignore. The cool air from the north chased away the summer humidity. The winds blew away the haze and smog. The clouds on the horizon amplified the light show as dawn broke. As I rode back south across the lakefront Northwestern campus, the towers of downtown Chicago were flashing in the light of the rising sun. It was all so clear, so clear.
There were an unusual number of bicyclists, runners and dog-walkers out early this morning. I saw lots of smiling faces, several friendly people called out to greet me as I whizzed by. I felt lifted up and encouraged. Strangers can still share their delight as they experience a fine morning - all is not lost, after all.