By Jeanne Sager
LIVINGSTON MANOR May 2, 2006 Most Americans think of an hour-long trip to work and their mind goes to the gas tank not Virginia Sanborn.
Sanborn lives in Livingston Manor.
She works as controller at the First National Bank of Jeffersonvilles main branch in Jeffersonville.
In a car, her commute takes 20 minutes at the most.
But come spring, Sanborn crawls out of bed and throws her leg over her bike, ready for an hour-long cycle over hill and dale to Jeff.
Its hard for me to get out in the morning, she said.
Like the rest of us, Sanborn would love to roll over and hit the alarm clock for a few blissful minutes of extra slumber.
Still technically a newlywed (Sanborn and husband Charlie were married in October 2004, shortly before moving to Livingston Manor), she said its just gotten harder.
Charlie jokes the two are like Velcro, and come morning, its hard to pull them apart!
The hardest step is that first step out the door, Virginia said. But once Im out there, Im so glad I did it.
Sanborn started riding as a child living in rural Brewster, the only way to get to a friends house was to hop on her bike and ride.
But 20 years ago, she incorporated her bike into her commute, using her own power to get to work on sunny spring and summer days.
Theres a certain amount of freedom you feel, Sanborn explained. Youre under your own power, theres the fresh air . . .its about healthy living.
Bicycle riding is an aerobic activity, she explained. Its good for your legs, it doesnt pound them like running.
In the beginning, Sanborn said shed either take a 45-minute bike ride in the morning purely for exercise and fresh air, or shed substitute her car ride to work with a bike ride.
The practice stuck last year, Sanborn started out riding in to work a few days during the spring.
It took me a little while to get started because the climb over Shandelee was intimidating, she said, referring to one of the countys steepest roadways.
But Sanborn said its worth it.
When I get to work in the morning, I feel awake, I feel invigorated, she explained.
Shes one employee who isnt going to fall asleep at her desk! (Although, once, when Sanborn worked 18 miles from home, she participated in Run to Work Day, and ended up using her lunch hour as a nap hour).
Sanborn checks the weather before she decides what days to ride, and she usually drives her car to work one morning with her bike in the car.
That evening, shell ride home, heading up the treacherous Shandelee hill.
The next morning, shell ride in to work on the bike, then cart the cycle home in her car that evening.
If a freak rainstorm dampens her plans, Sanborn calls Charlie to come pick her up.
Her husband owns Livingston Manors only bike shop they opened Cinder Track Bicycles last spring.
Charlie has a long and varied history working with bikes a history that brought the couple together.
After a serious bike accident, Virginias bike was in rough shape, and she found a repair shop that seemed to make the problems worse.
But she heard about a guy in Vernon, NJ, who worked miracles on bikes.
Virginia drove from her home in Chester over the border into Jersey, where she met Charlie.
It was love at first sight, she recalled.
He was flirting with my bike, she added with a laugh.
Charlie even fixed flaws in the bike that came straight from the factory.
He did a fabulous job, Virginia recalled. My bike never rode better.
The rest, of course, was history.
And opening their own shop the first Charlie has owned on his own was a dream come true.
Charlie runs the shop during the week, selling bicycles, skateboards and equipment, doing repairwork and renting out bikes.
Virginia helps at night and on the weekends unless the couples out on the road together.
They finally took their honeymoon last month they went biking in Maui, naturally.
Charlie also rides in to Jeff with Virginia on occasion.
Hell be making the trek for one solid week this month Cinder Track is sponsoring a number of rides in May in honor of National Bike Month.
The League of American Bicyclists has named May 15-19 National Bike-to-Work Week, and May 19 is National Bike-to-Work Day.
Each day, the Sanborns are inviting folks to come out early in the morning and meet them at the shop on Pearl Street.
From there, theyll head up Dahlia Road out of Livingston Manor and make their way to Jeffersonville.
Charlie will offer free safety inspections and energy gel, and theyll provide certificates for coffee at Peez Leweez (also located on Pearl Street in the Manor).
Charlie will be biking back home, and folks are invited to join him as well.
And Virginia will make the trek that evening, with anyone whos up for the ride.
People who dont feel up to such a long ride are invited to join them anywhere along the route.
Most people arent up to riding those hills, and I dont blame them, Virginia said. If they only want to go 4 miles or 2 miles or whatever . . . thats fine.
Its just to get out, she added. My ride is a relaxed pace no one gets left behind, except possibly me!
The whole idea, Sanborn said, is this is something everyone can and possibly should do.
Its not about winning a race; its not about being Lance Armstrong.
More dedicated riders are invited to join the Sanborns for a May-tenance ride on Sunday, May 28.
Riders will have the option of taking a 30- or 50-mile ride through the mountains around Livingston Manor.
This is one of two rides the shop holds yearly (the other is set for Columbus Day weekend). Each will leave from the shop at 10 a.m. on Sunday (with a raindate of Monday, May 29).
And folks who arent too tired after their commute are invited along for an evening ride on May 17 at 5 p.m. rides range from 10 miles to 30 miles over a covered bridge and along streamsides in the mountains.
One final piece of the bike month festivities will be a fashion show, set for Saturday, May 13, at 4 p.m. at Morgan Outdoors on Main Street.
The $5 admission will send a Livingston Manor child to camp.
For more information, or to arrange to rent a bike and helmet, call Cinder Track Bicycles at 439-4590. The shops spring hours are 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.