I’m Jane Allison, and I love riding bicycles, whether it is in my own neighborhood or on vacations out of town. I brake for bucolic vistas, farmers markets, scenic barns, drug stores with soda fountains (especially ones selling great pimiento cheese sandwiches) and churches – picturesque ones and the not so picturesque ones with catchy signs like “Don’t Be So Open Minded That Your Brain Falls Out. “
I’m so glad that you found my blog and hope you’ll check in often. My desire is to encourage you to dust off your bicycle and pedal away. You’ll see the surroundings in a new way with the side benefit of getting a little exercise. Even if bicycling isn’t for you, I think most of the travel stories I write about will apply to most any road trip.
I’m a Mississippi woman married to a Louisiana man, David, and we have two grown daughters. A wanderlust at heart, I’m now rediscovering the simple joys of bicycling and soaking up the scenery along the way. I started this blog to savor my road trips and share experiences and tips with others. This blog will share some of those from New York City’s Central Park to remote Utah with pit stops along the way for black walnut ice cream in Jefferson City, MO and Louisiana strawberries in Ponchatoula.
You won’t be reading about the best century rides, touring Australia on bike or the Tour de France, although I did “attempt” the Tour de Fire Ant in Marshall, TX once. It was too hilly for me, so I found the sag wagon halfway into my ride. Besides I seemed to be the only one with a “kickstand” on my bicycle and the only one more interested in stopping to snap photos along the way than racing to the finish line.
I grew up in Aberdeen in Northeast Mississippi and enjoyed riding the streets and looking at the Victorian homes in my hometown. As a child, I don’t remember my first bike – just riding on Stingrays borrowed from neighborhood kids. I do remember fantasizing about the three-speed black English racers I saw in the Sears & Roebuck catalog or the Schwinns advertised on Captain Kangaroo. When I got my first job at 16, the first thing I purchased was a bike. Yes, that is the age most people dream of getting a car but since that was out of the question for me, I plunked down $95 for a champagne colored 10-speed at Western Auto.
A couple of years after I got my first real job as a newspaper reporter, I used my entire week’s $325 paycheck to buy a Japanese Kabuki with drop down handlebars and toe clips and rode all over Tupelo, Mississippi –on residential streets and occasionally to work , downtown where Elvis bought his first guitar and along the Natchez Trace Parkway where Native Americans forged a footpath pursuing bison centuries ago.
I still have that bike 34 years later, but today I mostly ride a 27-speed Specialized hybrid. Most of my rides now are far away from city streets on Rails to Trails, abandoned railways that have been converted into multi-use paths across the United States. I’m trying to include some bicycling in every road trip I take.
I’m also looking for farmstands as I travel. My second career was spent helping small businesses so I’m partial to the local diner, independent drug store and locally-sourced products.
A former newspaper reporter and feature writer, I’m glad to finally join the blogging word. Bear with me as I dust off my typewriter, brush up on my grammar and learn the technical side of blogging.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.”—Lamentations 3:22-23