Some people ride their bikes to work, others as sport and some for the sheer joy of quiet efficient propulsion. I do all these things but mostly I ride bike to get places. When you arrive by bike it makes a very simple statement. The bicycle, my bicycle was the first freedom I knew as a child. I could explore as far and wide as my body would carry me. Simple and efficient I could fix anything that broke with a few simple tools. Roadside tire repairs, long breaks when I needed them and water… the single most precious commodity on the plant earth.
My cycling journeys can easily be explained as the quest for water, no matter how much I carry I’m always on the search for more. Long slow climbs, eye watering descents pushing the bike to the brink of terminal velocity. I can bitch and gripe about tunnels, bridges and commercial trucks all I want but every time I enter a small town in immediately seek to get back to where there are no stop signs or traffic lights.
To escape the hustle and bustle Is an impossibility, traffic is my constant companion but it’s different out on the open stretches. All I need is enough water, enough energy, enough time and light mixed with a very small amount of my remaining guide book from the 90’s. I ritually tear the pages out after I’ve used them. The size and weight of this little treasure map is a sign of my progress.
The days unfold as I chase the last remnants of summer, there is no daily goal, no schedule nothing but the constant whirr of my tires. The sounds change with the elements but they are always there. The constant barrage of cars whizzing by.
The familiar smells are what I find utterly pleasing, different scents take me to different places, places from my childhood. And perhaps others to my future. The double whammy, I’m not talking about the shoulder less bridge that led straight into a tunnel. I’ve poisoned myself twice since leavening, well it wasn’t all me. I didn’t bring any blogging tools so doubt I’ll write as often if ever on this journey but so far it’s been amazing. Just in case you are curious the Brompton was a far superior bike for this type of touring but I’ve had many secret side tracks. I covered 180 miles of hot, hilly, head windy road in the last three days. I’ll cover a third of that in the next week but tonight I’m squeaky clean, have a pile of pizza and beers, chips and chocolate and my laundry is being done for me. I love being pampered #icouldtellyoubuttheniwouldhavetokillyou.
Diving into an ice cold stream or lake
The ocean, sun on my naked shoulders
Getting lost, being found
The sounds of night
Sharing and exploring
There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything. From the Hagakure “The Samurai Manuel