I’ve had some inspiring bike rides the last few days. Rather suddenly, it seems, I’m back in my summertime bike-riding shape, and pushing my bike up hills and over long stretches of roads is surprisingly easier than I had predicted. On Sunday, I had a stirring ride along the shore to Mystic and then back again, a distance I hadn’t attempted since last fall. Oddly enough, the farther I traveled the stronger I felt. I even contemplated heading up into the hilly country north of town, which would have doubled the length of the trip. One of the things I found most exciting about my recent rides is that old, wonderful feeling I always get from stopping in the shade of a tree for rest, nourishment, and perhaps a little rousing reading. I did that yesterday many times, but one in particular stands out. When I entered Mystic, I bought a sandwich and sat in the cool shadow of a tree to enjoy a lunch break. I ate slowly, sipped a frosty drink, and read a few pages of Whitman. I can’t recall having a more stimulating meal. After that, my ride was more exhilarating than ever.