Tag: biking


Just before Labor Day, Mrs. Neill jetted off to Nashville for a business trip to do whatever modern women do on their business trips.  Lacking a better option, I took the kids camping, something of which I generally disapprove.  If you’re “trying to get away from it all”, then I don’t see the point of sleeping several steps from a community salted with loud boozed rednecks up all hours of the night.  But a weekday just before Labor Day?  I was pretty sure we’d have the place to ourselves.  And we did for about an hour.  That is, until a gentleman and his three young daughters set up shop RIGHT NEXT TO US.  After grilling the intruders at length, I learned that they were far from home (NYC!) and that they were half-way through a 120 mile bike-trek along the Great Allegheny Passage.  (Which would explain why they didn’t have a car.)  Before long, my kids were having a great time with our new neighbors.

For three days, we hung out with our new friends, biked (18 miles), hiked (jungle-like and with lots of waterfalls), and whitewater rafted (guess who did almost all the paddling for 4 hours) our way around Ohiopyle, PA.  If camping was always that awesome (and mosquito free), I would live in a forest.

Sorry Paris, Ohiopyle was the highlight of my summer.

Adapting to a new evironment

When I first moved to downtownish Chicago, my life revolved around a sickfast sport car.  Both my car and I hated Chicago.  Potholes gnawed at its chassis.  Parallel parkers ravaged its fenders.  Cops fed it a steady diet of parking tickets.  After three years of Chicago misery, my car breathed its last.  While still in mourning, the following week I bought a bicycle.  Soon enough, my bike took me to faraway lands never before seen from the highway:  Mexico, Poland, Ukraine, Greece, Puerto Rico, and a third world African country.  Within a month I had fallen in love with the beauty of urban life, its vibrance and its decay.

Four years ago I moved to a small town just outside of Pittsburgh.  I have to drive (a minivan) everywhere.  While I slowly strangle nature, I’ve learned to soak up its beauty.  Every day I drive to Home Depot.  And this is what I see:

It’s nice.

Hill talk.

Earlier today I snapped this picture while walking the beast.  Four thoughts ensued:

1. Dumb dog and I walk 30-60 minutes every day.  We go up those wretched hills and down again.  If my knees don’t quit, I’ll probably live to be 140.

2. I’m amazed at the number of fatties in the neighborhood.  They’ve got 24/7 access to a world class Stairmaster – the sidewalk.

3. Early in my migration from urban flatland to hilly sprawl, I was obsessed with the idea of building a zip-line.  I’d pay large dollars to ride a local zip-line.  Like $3.  Or $4.

4. The hills are not bike friendly.  I’m tired of riding around the driveway.

Ridin’ bikes.