The Joys Of Bike Riding

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This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
We've gotten a long overdue break here in the northeast. The weather has warmed up and the spring rains have subsided, which means I've been out on my bike.

I have one of those skinny-tired road bikes and I like to put some miles on, come the weekend. The last couple of days have been a revelation in sight and sound.

First the clouds. What a show. Big puffy cumulus clouds that grew through the warm afternoon into thunderstorms. Nothing too serious. A clap of thunder, a fast shower and then sunshine again. On the roadside, the smell of spring's wildflowers, of the mown hay in the meadows and a stand of pine near the reservoir where last year's needles lie drying in the morning sun. It's a fragrance lodged in memory of outdoors, of escape, of being away from things.

And then the birds. Seems whenever I'm climbing a steep hill I look to the sky and spot a turkey vulture. Are they that good a detecting my weakness or is there road kill up ahead? Cardinals flit through the woods where I ride. I love their chirp. Sometimes I hear a hummingbird along with the whir of my gears.

I love the freedom of being on a bike. It reminds me of being a kid. Back in the day we could climb on our bikes and go as far as we dared. We were always on a mission of discovery. The best places were the abandoned industrial sites — pre-EPA cesspools waiting for a Super Fund rescue. Funny, now I want to be as far away from that as possible.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith