Renewing the cycle(ing) of life at New Year’s

That’s me in my olive-drab windbreaker just to the left of the “2023” sign, as 28 cyclists gathered for the annual New Year’s Morning bike ride on San Juan Island. Barbara Marrett is to my right, holding the sign. The ride has been organized for many years by John Stimpson, at far right, who was sidelined by an injury this year.

I CAN ATTEST that there are few better ways to welcome a new year than the annual New Year’s Morning cycling tour on San Juan Island.

For one, it gets you out of bed and out of the house, but it starts at 10 a.m., not any ungodly hour such as 7 or 8.

Two, it doesn’t get you wet and cold — and sometimes naked (brrrrr!) — like the polar-bear swims that so many misguided souls take part in.

And three, a potluck brunch immediately followed, with waffles, bacon, frittata and all sorts of good food, of which the consumption carried less guilt because, after all, one had just gotten up early(ish) and ridden one’s bicycle several miles in the invigorating January cold.

That was my New Year’s morning, during a quick weekend reunion with my Alaska boat-voyage buddies, Barbara Marrett and Bill Watson, at their Friday Harbor home, along with Carol Hasse (aka Sea Goddess), visiting from Port Townsend. Friday Harbor friend (and another sailor who’s gotten around a bit) John Neal joined us.

After leaving Galley Cat to hold down the Center Island fort by herself at Christmas for longer than intended (thanks to the doggone weather), I limited this visit to one night away. It was short, but sweet. And the weather cooperated, with a pleasant day for cycling.

New Year’s Eve, we watched a slide show of the Inside Passage voyage, ate a wonderful dinner prepped by all the Osprey crew, streamed a fun, salty bit of cinema (“Fisherman’s Friends”), and played with Barbara and Bill’s adorable new ginger kitten, named, appropriately, “Sailor.”

I made some new friends on the bike ride and happily confirmed that my favorite old K2 commuting bike, stored in the canopy-covered bed of my pickup truck on Lopez Island, was still perfectly functional once the tires were pumped up and the chain oiled. That good old bike got me back and forth between Shilshole Marina and the Seattle Times office for many of its 20+ years.

Happy new year to all. One of my resolutions: Do more cycling in 2023!

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