I went for a spontaneous bike ride today, and it may well have been the best way I could have started my week. After leaving the anatomy lab, feeling stressed and disheartened, I strapped on my helmet, mounted my bicycle, and began the usual monotonous ride home. Then something happened. Somewhere between my thoughts about the 12 cranial nerves and the appearance of the rail trail in the distance, I decided not to go home. I thought, who cares if I have a bell-ringer test tomorrow afternoon that I should be studying for? I needed a break. Plus, everyone knows that the pituitary gland releases enkephalins and endorphins during exercise, which stimulates the pleasure areas of the brain; this ride would make me feel better…and I needed to get anatomy off my mind.
I’ve always been partial to the idea of traveling to unknown destinations. Whenever I go running, I make up my route as I go along. Although I sometimes get lost, there’s something exciting about having to find my way home in a less than familiar neighbourhood. So, that’s what I did. I rode down the rail trail, past Fortinos and the Cadbury factory, beyond the apartments at Main and Osler…and suddenly I was at University Plaza! By the way, if you spend a lot of time on the South side of Main St.W (and don’t have a car), the rail trail is a very efficient way to access almost everything you need. That was the farthest I’d ever been down the trail (I know, it’s embarrassing), but I was curious about what I would find beyond, so I continued.
I have to mention, today wasn’t the sunniest of days; soon after I began my ride, I discovered it would be impossible to stay clean, so instead, I embraced the mud spatters all over my pants and jacket and continued on. Eventually, I reached Old Ancaster Road, and realized I should probably head back, so I rode through the streets of Dundas and made my way back towards McMaster.
This wasn’t by any means a wild adventure, but it still made me feel like I was on top of the world. It really is amazing to see what you can do in half an hour, and where you can go on a mere two wheels. Next time you have calories/stress/time to burn, I encourage you to step outside and go somewhere new. My next trip will certainly be bigger and better, although I can’t tell you the time or destination. All I know is that I’ll probably have to wait until Frankenstorm passes…