A strong appetite, average palate, and weak writing, mixed with outdoor adventure.

A strong appetite, average palate, and weak writing, mixed with outdoor adventure.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Long Shadows of the Afternoon

Tony Kerr, who has appeared before in posts regarding mountains such as Rainier and Mt Neva, rides past my apartment twice a day as part of his bike commute. With the fortuitous combination of a short workday and excellent weather I decided to join him on his ride home.

Tony and I have a funny habit where we downplay our fitness levels in comparison to one another. I have been running a lot so Tony has mentioned multiple times how hard it will be to keep up in the mountains. I kindly point out that he rides 20+ miles a day and often skis on the weekends, therefore it will be I who suffers. This ride was no different, with Tony noting how his large front chainring makes acceleration a challenge. I parried by noting that I was not wearing cycling specific shoes.

If this guy tells you he is out of shape do not believe him.


If this guy tells you he is out of shape believe him.


Just like our hikes and climbs, we were well matched in pace and temperament, and both enjoyed the company and effort. The route south is mostly uphill, and I will now sound like a grumpy old man (get off my lawn!), this ride was headed directly into a headwind. My return trip home was great though, all the pedaling and cursing I experienced when southbound, turned into effortless joy with the wind at my back.

I have fallen out of bike riding over the last few years, viewing it as a mode of transportation more than something to do for the sake of pleasure, essentially just riding for the sake of riding. This ride brought back that sense of pleasure. The simple act of moving through space and being immersed in the landscape at a pace and scale that only a bike can provide is not to be underestimated. The awareness of the environment, noting shifts in temperatures as you cross over drainages, small grade changes, and the sound of the wind and traffic mixed, means you do not have those stretches where you cannot remember what you just passed, which seems so common when driving. Also, you get to see wildlife!


I do not think this heralds a return to the bike seat, but will likely get me out a bit more. Regardless of whether I ride not, I will still rue the alternative.


1 comment:

  1. Congrats on taking a ride for the fun of it. I am also somewhat stuck in the vortex of riding primarily for transportation, although I can think of much worse fates. Your last photo illustrates one of them well.