Shifting Gears

Bored with the drudgery of routine workouts at the YMCA, two years ago my father took up the wheel (or handle bars) of my uncle’s ugly, beaten up, metallic purple bicycle.

Not willing to sacrifice conventionality, I continued to exercise within the beige and gray walls of my air-conditioned fortress while my father mounted his violet steed, pedaling out into adventure.

After listening to him come home with tale after tale about his fascinating explorations, I began to envy his spontaneous and enthralling escapades.

Scoring a brand new, snow white bicycle during doorbusters, my father prepared, even in the bitter cold of our Northwest Indiana winter, for another season of Tour de Indiana.

Early last summer my workout duffle rested deflated on the living room couch as I mentally prepared myself for another monotonous day at the gym. My father came in the back door to grab his sunglasses before one of his daily rides, the warm, pleasant air slipped in behind him. Biting my lip and jingling the car keys, I attempted to silence the voice screaming in my head not to waste another beautiful day. Calling out after him, I begged… asked, if he wouldn’t mind me coming along.

Irony serving the prominent role it always has in my life, my father hopped onto his sweet new ride and graciously invited me to join him… on the dilapidated purple beast.

Desperate enough to brave the reigns of the hand-me-down bike with its snaggle-toothed cogs, I mounted the creature and rode off into the unknown.

Taking me through golden, sanguine fields, lush green forests and rustic, urban vistas, I was instantly hooked on this electrifying hobby that I once thought to be stale and old fashioned.

Riding at speeds no faster than 20 miles per hour with no windshields, doors or obnoxious blare of a radio blocking out the world, I was finally able to slow down and appreciate the subtle beauty and liberating feeling of exploring Northwest Indiana. It was this feeling that inspired me to share with the residents of “Da Region” and curious visitors alike, the wonder and character this small corner of Indiana has to offer. If only you take the time to look…

So join me this year as I venture out to ride some of Northwest Indiana’s most popular bike paths and hidden trails, filling in the blank pages of the map and showing just how fun it can be to take the long way around.

See you on the trail,

Travane Phoenix

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