Friday, January 18, 2013

Biking Webb Lake with IYC

What month is it again?  As if it weren't hard enough to figure out the day of the week in my semi-retired existence, I also have to remember that the fact that it's 75 degrees and sunny doesn't mean that it's a nice summer day!  The first year that I lived in Punta Gorda, January was brutally cold.  Yes, I'm talking a stretch of cold weather where the mercury registered in the 50s and even--shudder--the 40s on occasion.  Outside plans were put on hold, and residents with fireplaces delighted in the opportunity to use them.

Leaders Diana and Joe Lehr
With the memory of such extreme weather in mind, the organizers of the monthly IYC bike ride have selected Webb Lake for our January outing the last two years.  Babcock Webb Wildlife Management area is a short drive from Punta Gorda and offers a variety of activities, from hiking and biking to fishing to shooting.  (In fact, on the day of our ride, you could hear shots in the distant background.   I was happy to have a good amount of distance between us and the shooting range.)  Last year we saw plein air artists out painting by the lake. Our ride was an easy ten miles on paved road--five miles out and five miles back, and it's relatively sheltered in the event of cooler weather conditions.  Perfect for bikers of all levels.

Our group consisted of nearly 30 bikers (some of our group is camera shy).  One great thing about this ride is that you don't have to worry about traffic or pedestrians so you can just bike and chat and enjoy the day.  Many of the riders participate in the weekly bike to breakfast on Saturdays, but there were some additions to our group of people who don't fancy getting out of bed at 6:30 to ride, even with the promise of pork fat when you reach your destination.  I always come away from these outings with some little tidbit to file away, whether it's a book recommendation or an outing or a travel destination.  On this outing I particularly enjoyed comparing notes with fellow symphony-goers about the amazing performance of the Charlotte Symphony the prior week-end.  (I wish I could turn back the clock and experience it all over again!)

Of course there's no risk of actually ending up in a calorie deficit when you do one of these rides since there is always a meal involved.  After our ride, we headed to Burnt Store Grill for some sustenance and more conversation.   It's hard to imagine a more pleasant way to start off my week--and all I had to do was sign up and show up!  The time will come when I have to take my turn and plan one of these adventures, but for now I'm enjoying just having the opportunities turn up in my mailbox in my missives from IYC.  Thanks to Diana and Joe Lehr for organizing this ride and to all of the people who volunteer to organize the activities that make IYC such a fun place to be.

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