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Cold bike ride on the Burke

Saturday morning, early, when the hazy sun rays still come through the atmosphere sideways. In the cold—icy—autumn air that hints at the snow on the way. On the Burke—before it gets busy with regulars. Pedaling in between sun puddles and shade pools. Squinty eyes, with the head down in the headwind. Blue ripples on Lake Washington, empty, to the right. Fall-decorated canopy high above the path. Dead leaves like confetti beneath the tires. A personal parade route for two. Smokey breathes. Stinging ears. Numb fingers. Obstacle!: Squirrel!… All safe. Push back up to get in pace. Tired legs, keep pushing down. Goosebumps on the limbs and sweaty back. The handlebars creek a little; the fenders rub now and then. The breeze is loud in ears. No other sound: no headphones with music, no talking passersby, no birds. Just rolling tires and red, runny noses. Two hours in the cold. In October.

Then, slow down. Pull over. Stop. Breathe and gaze. Turn around.


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