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Saturday I rode all over town on a bicycle. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but hadn’t. There are a couple of busy main streets that are the quickest ways to get most places I go and I’ve been surprisingly reluctant to bike them. People do it all the time here. It’s a university town, after all. But I have always found excuses for not biking that way. Until Saturday.

A friend organized a super creative surprise birthday party for his wife. A scavenger hunt on bikes. We formed small teams to decipher about a dozen clues that had to do with her life (where she worked her first years here, where she gets her hair cut, where they had their first date, etc.). We biked throughout the downtown and the university campus. It was surprisingly easy to get around. And super fun.

The weather was great and I was energized by the fresh air and sunshine. It was also fun to meet random people. There was a home game that day and a couple of students wearing their team apparel posed for a picture. We stopped another on the corner for help unscrambling a word. Multiple times people willingly took our photo since all team members had to be in some shots. And at one point on a crowded intersection we dropped the clue sheet and the wind started blowing it away. I said,”Save that paper,” and someone jumped into action. I rolled my front wheel over it and she picked it up for me. “Are you on a scavenger hunt?” she asked. “Yep, and it would have been bad to lose that paper,” I said with a smile. “Do you need any other help?” she asked enjoying her spontaneous role in the game. “I think we’re good now, thanks” I said.

It was another reminder about the beauty of biking. You can get places quickly. Enjoy the weather. Meet new people. Solve clues. And learn new things about your friends along the way…all while getting exercise and without spending a dollar on gas.  And it increased my confidence for traveling by bike. Another plug for social support, even in the form of a birthday party.

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