February 3, 2012
It was late in the evening in a little town in Colombia. We had stopped for an ice cream and were sitting at a street-side table. There was no traffic. The street was deserted except for kids riding bikes.
I loved listening to the combination of spinning bicycle wheels, creaking chains, squeaky seats, and laughter.
The streets were barely lit. No where near enough light to take a photo. But I put the camera on the table and set the aperture as wide as it would go, and clicked off a few shots as the kids wheeled by.
What I got was a grainy, ghost-like image. It looked more like a painting than a photo. I could make out the frame of the bike, part of the back wheel, the girl's sandal, and her skirt. Not much more. But the image still speaks to me.
Some travel memories are sharp and clear. They stick with you. Ten years later you can recall an event or place or personal exchange as if it happened yesterday.
Others blur and fade and mix with other memories of events, places, trips, and people encountered along the way.
I used to get frustrated that I couldn't remember every detail of every trip. Now I embrace the clear, the mixed, and the blurred memories of my bicycle journeys. They all make up an ever-expanding mental art exhibit—one that I visit as often as I can.
Photo by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.