Tales of Rails to Trails

I like to think I got my drive and discipline for running from my father. He’s not a runner, but while I was growing up he was active in multiple sports. Mondays he played tennis. Tuesdays and Thursdays he played basketball. Wednesdays he golfed. Fridays he bowled and during the spring and summer he played softball.

These days my father stays active through bike riding. About a year ago, a client ‘paid’ my father with his bicycle. He told my dad it was worth around $500, when it actually was worth less than $200. But my father accepted his payment because that’s the kind of lawyer he is. In a profession with an ugly and dark reputation, my daddy shines like the sun -I’m a daddy’s girl if you couldn’t tell ­čśë

My mom told me about the bike and how my dad came to own one, but I didn’t realize how often my dad was riding until Christmas of last year. He kept talking about riding along the Rails to Trails, how uncomfortable his bike seat was and how frequently a stray dog chased behind him. His best story was seeing a longhorn steer on the trail coming towards him. Quite an unusual sight I’m sure, but the funny part was my dad asking the woman jogger behind the steer, “Is that your cow?”

His adventures on the Rails to Trails had me so entertained and curious I asked if I could tag along for a run. It was the first of the year and warm as a spring day when we went. I was dressed appropriately in leggings, running shoes and a moisture-wicking long-sleeved shirt. My dad on the other hand was wearing a cumbersome flannel coat and casual slip-on shoes. “Where’s your helmet?” I asked because the sign on the trail said it was the law. “I’m not wearing a stupid helmet,” he answered curtly. ┬áThere’s no point arguing with my father, law or no law.

That run ranks among the best runs ever because it was with my daddy. So when I was home over the 4th of July holiday, I couldn’t wait to run the Rails to Trails while my dad biked. He still didn’t wear a helmet, but he did have a new bike, which he carefully researched through Consumer Reports. Unlike the last time, I couldn’t keep my dad in sight the whole time. Either he got faster or I got slower! But just like last time, he would stop and wait for me at different spots on the trail.

The first time I met up with him, he said suspiciously, “Some guy just popped out of the bushes up here. I don’t know what he’s up to.” I looked over at the elderly man holding a tin bucket and immediately assumed he was picking raspberries and dismissed him as a threat, but instead of pointing that out to my dad, I just laughed and reveled in his protectiveness.

At the five mile marker we turned around and started back. As I was running, I heard a voice behind me say, “lady jogger on left.” Then four bicyclists, wearing helmets and proper clothing, passed me. I smiled to myself and thought, “I wonder if The Tour de France will pass my dad?”

With about a mile left to go, I caught up to my dad who was waiting on the side of the trail. “I just got passed by the Tour de France,” he said immediately. I just laughed.┬áLike father like daughter!

Apparently, I got my sense of humor as well as my athleticism from my dad!

8 thoughts on “Tales of Rails to Trails

  1. I love this story! What a neat thing to share with him. And I love how much your love for your dad shines through. You are so lucky!

  2. So sweet. I love “Rails to Trails”. My Dad works for the Nature Coast in Florida (a division of RtoT). Whenever I’m home, I try to make it out to bike/walk/hike on them.

  3. Bri, this would make a great Chicken Soup story! What a wonderful relationship you have with your dad. I’m so glad you savor it. Blessings!

  4. LOL! I’m not wearing a stupid helmet…love it!

    I’m glad you and your dad are so close.

    Hey, I thought you were going to do Poetry Schmoetry.

    I was SO GLAD to see this post…I’ve been missing reading it. How is the book coming? Are we due to swap a chapter tomorrow?

  5. We never heard of wearing a helmet to go bicycling when I was a kid. Then again, we didn’t have seat belts in cars or put babies in safe car seats. Never got hurt either–at least not very bad.


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