Life with a Little

Recently, my husband and I took our bikes to Keene’s lovely Main Street for our first real date night in three months. The simple act of sitting down to dinner while people watching was incredibly pleasurable. With everything going on in the world, it would be easy to feel guilty about enjoying this moment.

However, we have a toddler, and our survival depends on moments of luxury wherever we can find them. So, I am tossing the guilt and ordering that burger.

One of the interesting things these last few months have taught us is that you don’t have to travel far to find adventure, beauty or entertainment. Instead, you just have to shift your focus; and there’s no better reason than a forced guideline to stay home and enjoy that, which quite literally surrounds you. Luckily, we Monadnock-ers live in one of the most beautiful regions, and yet I know my husband and I constantly forget to explore “next door.”

A simple bike-ride from our house allows us to pick up our CSA share, have an ice cream and take a dip in an amazing swimming hole. Now that Zavier is getting old enough to be reasoned with, it is time to include him in our local adventuring. Since we are pretty big mountain bikers, one of the most important purchases for us is a seat for Zavier that allows him to ride trails with us. Enter the “Shotgun” (kidsrideshotgun.com) – once it arrives and we have our first ride, we will report back on how it went!

There are a number of trail systems in the Monadnock region, including Stonewall Farm, Drummer Hill, the Food Network, Surry Mountain and Sunset Ridge. And let’s not forget the amazing bike park that is opening up in July at Wheelock Park (keenebikepark.org).

Mountain biking has been such an important part of our lives. For my husband, it has always been essential for mental and physical health. If he is ever grumpy, send him out on a bike ride and he returns peaceful and relaxed. For me, it is the best form of exercise and delivers a large amount of self-esteem. Mountain biking is NOT easy and it uses all of your muscles and stamina to really ride. I try to stay on the

bike, stand up and really climb up hills and continue that “attack position” on descents. If you do this, even for a short time, and even if you are in relatively good shape, it’s exhausting! But oh so exhilarating at the same time!

It’s also rare for a woman in her 40s to be riding like this, and I have to admit, it really makes me feel good about myself. However, for a lot of folks, mountain biking can be intimidating. There are roots, rocks, more roots and rocks scattered between steep sections of trail going uphill then downhill very quickly. It is not for everyone. Our beautiful network of rail trails and backroads can take you just down the street to the grocery store or all the way into Massachusetts, Vermont and surrounding towns. If bikes are not your thing, there are literally hundreds of miles of hiking trails and rivers to explore, so many of which are within the city limits of Keene. You do not need to go far or have fancy equipment for a grand adventure.

Load up and ride… boat, hike, bike, walk… whatever. Just do it.