Light Notes

If you ride in tandem, life doesn't go flat (w/ photos)

HARRISON, Idaho — We must have been crazy!

But we were committed — and probably should have been.

This bicycle ride was our final leg of the southwest end of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes bike path, and we were determined to finish it — even if it killed us.

Last summer, we’d bicycled most of this paved railway bed that stretches almost to the Montana border. But this section between Harrison to Plummer, Idaho, takes a lot of steam — something we were out of about halfway into the journey uphill.

“I knew we should have been riding all summer!” I panted, as my husband, Bill, and I stopped for a break. “How steep is this?”

He took a sip from his water pack and reflected, “From what I remember, we’re climbing close to 1,000 feet, and most of it on the last seven miles of the trail.”

Were we nuts or what? We hadn’t touched our bicycles for months, so what were we thinking?

It had all seemed so idyllic — a stay at the Wild Boar Inn, breakfast served to us at our leisure, and a quiet bike ride on a meandering path. It would be the perfect way to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

The first part was what we imagined. The refurbished 1918 bed & breakfast was charming and the innkeeper, Russ, served up a hearty breakfast that would be any bicyclist’s dream.

However, we should have looked at the trail map.

When we’d decided to spend our special day bicycling, I never thought it’d be so much work: a steep climb through the mountains, an unexpected storm with strong winds, and miles without an espresso stand.

My thigh muscles couldn’t help but scream.

But then the sun came out. The sky was the bluest I’d seen in months, the fragrant pine trees contrasting against it. Deer crossed our path and the birds resumed their song. As we crossed the expansive Chatcolet Bridge we spotted nesting osprey, the hungry sounds of their offspring echoing across the lake.

While we pedaled, I thought how marriage is like this bicycle ride. You start out with a picture of what it’s going to be — a fantasy of sorts.

Then, along the way there are ups and downs, sometimes a little rain and, at times, life can buffet you with challenges. But if you just keep pedaling together, the sun always shines again.

We’ve been in tandem for 44 years. The anniversary card I gave Bill read, “Marriage means commitment. Of course, so does insanity. Still crazy about you.”

If you ride the trail with a sense of humor, that loving feeling never goes flat.