Biking – by Todd Sharp, avid cyclist and, his weekly “Prune” column in the Green Laker offers readers a cheerfully skewed perspective on the aging process

I’ve pedaled through the Colorado Rockies, the New York Finger Lakes, the Natchez Trace, the peanut country of Virginia and many roads between. The familiar route around Green Lake is one of the finest I’ve ever taken. Out here, the tranquil farm roads provide miles of paved biking, pastoral scenery, wildlife and a few heart-pounding categorized hills. The distance is just right for me, the hills are challenging and there are always new routes and paths to be taken. One sunny fall Saturday, I decided to take my bike to go on the 22-mile “Loop the Lake” bike route. I’ve been riding around Green Lake for the past 10 years, but when I had the chance to go with some native Green Lakers I discovered new roads—shortcuts and safe passages I didn’t know existed. For instance, take the shortcut through Green Lake Conference Center. This way you can avoid busy Highway 23 entirely! Going with a group, hearing new stories and discovering new friends made the trip nearly effortless. Riding with others and chatting is fun, particularly when you can go slowly enough to pedal, breathe and talk at the same time. Nothing is more frustrating than struggling to get enough air while you’re riding partners jabber away like they’re sitting on the porch swing on a beautiful weekend morning and the only thing sweating is their glass of iced tea. Knowing when and where to stop and take a break is also important. I like to stop at Sassafras for a coffee, Bay View Landing for a scoop of ice cream, any number of bars for cold water, secluded shade trees to cool down away from the road and the occasional shoreline to dip my feet. That’s why our cleated cycling shoes have zip straps, you know. Easy lakefront access. Berry season, wild asparagus and the occasional pea field also provide sustenance and ample reason to stop. The day after the community ride, I looped the lake again, this time by myself and in the other direction—clockwise. It was a hot day, and just five miles down the road I started thinking hard aboutcold drinks. A local restauranteur was kind enough to refill my water bottle with ice, but did manage to question my mental capacity for decision making, vis-à-vis the heat. My last tips: start by riding counterclockwise around Green Lake. Skunk Hollow Road is much nicer to go down than it is to go up. If you’re leaving from downtown, roll to your right. It’s safer anyway, as you don’t cross traffic. Always be careful around the roads. And remember to enjoy time off the bike as much as on the bike. If we don’t cross paths on the road, maybe we will in the middle of a berry fieldsomewhere.