I’d long read about but never experience the high that comes with exercise until I started biking. What got me started was a stay at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire a few years ago. There the studios are scattered about the woods, and for some of them a bike is useful. Mine was a good hike from the main lodge, so I adopted one of the colony’s bikes, and when I got back to Palo Alto I got (a gift from the family) a campus bike. Just a couple weeks ago I bought a good road bike which makes climbing much easier.

Yesterday I reached the top of Alpine Road (‘the green gate’) without stopping and much faster than I used to do on my clunky campus bike. The best part is after the Portola Valley turnoff, when the little road twists and turns along a gorge with a creek in the bottom. It’s wonderful when the commuter traffic quiets and you can hear the wind and the birds and especially the sound of the water bubbling down the creek over stones and moss and fallen tree trunks. It’s shady at the end of the day when I go, usually with my husband, and the banks of the creek are littered with yellow leaves and green ferns; and I’m keeping my eyes off the road, just getting up inch by inch, until the road stops.