With the Raccoon River Valley Trail less than a mile from my door it’s where I frequently ride.
My preferred route is Waukee to Dallas Center. I like how it’s away from the busy highway and has portions flanked by trees. It nicely accommodates an hour of pedaling at my slow poke pace. This route is also a favorite because it’s where I see my bike trail friend.
This unknown friend is my biking role model. He is an older gentleman who rides a LOT. He rides in the cold and the wind. Sometimes with a friend, most of the time solo. He rides without fancy gear, or concerns for speed, but always with a smile. My friend is a great example of someone spreading the love of biking.
Our friendship is unique in that we don’t know each other. We’ve never been introduced or had a conversation. Our interactions last only seconds but are always a highlight. Greetings are enthusiastic . He usually points and says “Hello there!” while I wave like a nut and holler “Nice to see you!”
Seeing my friend has been known to cheer me up or provide a sense of comradery. He also motivates me. Especially when I spot him returning from a ride on days I’ve chosen to abstain.
Maybe this year I will finally come across him having stopped along the trail. If and when I do I’ll be sure to hit the brakes, introduce myself, and thank him for being an inspiration. Until then, I will keep pedaling while hoping I’ll see my bike trail friend I have but don’t know.