by Anna Idler
“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace
This bike is way too tall for me and I don’t know why I’m refusing to believe it, I thought to myself pedaling through Howard Place in Edinburgh, Scotland last Monday evening. We were staying with my family friend Jessie, who grew up in Edinburgh but now lives in London. Her family’s house was beautiful and so cozy, in a quiet neighborhood close to the city center. She told us about a bike path near the house, and said we could borrow the family bikes. Being just over five feet, and not exactly knowing how to lower bike seats, I figured biking was not in the cards for me.
Couple of hours later, helmet is secured and I’m on the back of the bike with the shortest (but still very significant) seat-to-ground ratio, praying I didn’t have to stop or do any sharp turns. I found the path, veered to the right and followed the first trail.
Before moving home to save up for this trip, I lived in Center City, Philadelphia for almost four years. My apartment was on Arch Street, right by the Comcast Center; it was the perfect location for walking to nearby bars and restaurants, and for taking the SEPTA regional rail out to Wayne, where my job was located. One of my favorite parts about it was its proximity to Kelly Drive, a trail parallel to the Schuylkill River where I would bike and run on the weekends. This trail in Edinburgh reminded me of Kelly Drive, and about my old weekend routine.
Although I want to get more into running and biking regularly, I am proud of the amount of walking Rachel and I have done so far on this journey. We have walked throughout each city and hiked in almost every single place we’ve been so far. Jessie showed us a great trail called Arthur’s Seat our first day in Edinburgh that we loved, and our other favorite hike was the Slieve League Cliffs while in Donegal, Ireland.
Travel is a complete break from every kind of schedule. No day is the same as the next one, even when you’re in the same city for a period of time. There’s always something new to see and do. This lifestyle is exactly what I was after when planning this trip, but I knew it would come with challenges and unfamiliar territory. I loved my Philadelphia runs and bikes, and I miss having that Saturday and Sunday activity to look forward to. Biking the Edinburgh trail made me realize I can build a routine of doing those similar physical activities if I want; I just have to get more creative in finding time to do them.
I’m also happy to note I didn’t fall on the Edinburgh bike ride, but I did turn into the wrong front yard coming home from it. Not sure if I’ll ever grow out of being directionally challenged at this point.
Thanks for following along,
26 year-old Anna Idler lives in Montgomery County, PA and is a freelance writer for Monto Happening. To learn more about her travels, check out her website Outlaw Summer.
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