Mother Nature has a calendar and she is punctual.
Admittedly, I wasn't around last week to notice the colors changing along the bike path. I was stuck in the desert, marveling at opulent hotels and interesting tourists as I traversed ribbons of concrete, marble floors, and dizzying carpet patterns. There were colors all around me, but none were very inspirational.
Rolling out on the bike path the first official day of autumn I was stunned by the color change. What only two weeks prior was a shapeless wall of green that cordoned off the bike path was now a sea of earth tones lapping against an isthmus of pavement. Blooming goldenrod, blossoming cattails, bright yellow daffodils, and browning prairie grass tassels swayed in the breeze like gentle waves rolling out to islands of green. The center line appeared before my front wheel like the yellow brick road leading me to the Land of Oz.
Fall had arrived on schedule and caught me completely by surprise.
Time is ticking away. Soon I'll be adding more layers and reminding myself that the days of enjoying a ride outdoors will soon give way to monotonous mornings on a stationary bike at the Y. Once again it's time to slow down, sit up, and take in the scenery.
September and October are two of the best months to throw your bike on the car rack and drive to your local forest preserve or regional rail trail. The temperature is perfect. The air is crisp. The colors are vibrant. There may even be a visit to the apple orchard or pumpkin farm for some fresh apple cider at the end of your ride, if you time it right.
The best way to immerse yourself in all the vibrant colors of autumn are from the saddle of your bike. It's the perfect speed to take in all the colors while breathing in all the aromas of a changing season. Just be careful of dog walkers, stroller pushers, runners, roller bladers, pathletes, and the occasional fawn. Any one of them can appear in your path in an instant.
The pathlete will be the only one not aware of his colorful surroundings...
For a listing of great places to bike in the Chicago area, click here.
Tags: Bicycling Story, Cook County Bike Paths, Deer Grove Forest Preserve, DuPage County Bike Trails, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Fox River Trail, Illinois Prairie Path, Kane County Bike Trails, Lake County Bike Trails, Lakefront Bike Path, Paul Douglas Trail, Poplar Creek Trail System, Prairie Trail