November 3, 2015
Why do I gush about bike travel? Well, I'm driven to consume large amounts of good food and get in sync with the heart pounding and endorphins of a really good climb! But really, I never want to forget life is so rich when I’m right in the moment, and anything is possible.
When I was a little kid, taking off to ride my bike all over the neighborhood, it was like climbing on a spirited stallion. It seemed to take off and fly down the street on its own with me pumping the pedals and swinging from side to side to keep up. For an instant, I would forget where I was going and just experience the explosion of freedom and lightness, speed and power. Those things tend to drift into the background as life experience sets in.
But it all comes back to me sometimes. Somewhere in the Deep South I was riding with a group of people one calm sunny morning.
I took note of a courageous little Papillon, running us down on his four inch legs over the length of his three acre yard with a bark as big as life. He guarded his own from the fierce two wheeled intruders and did a pretty good job at it. We tried not to laugh, having known all too well the stomach tightening, heart pounding fight or flight from the chase of a dog that can actually keep up with a bike, but this guy was a tour de force, and we gave him a cheer and a thumbs up.
We then rode past a very large horse pasture with a feed trough at the near end. There were about 50 beauties just standing around, until we passed them. One by one they took off in a wave across the meadow, running beside us in a perfect peloton as we watched in awe for a good minute. I imagined we became a part of their herd until they reached the fence and piled up with heads stretched over the rails, watching us ride away. That was COOL!
Did my spirited stallion come to life and lead them in a short bid for freedom? Did that tiny dog remind me that it’s all about believing in yourself? One of my favorite parts of biking is to be shown the richness of the moment when I look for it. That lazy morning of rural riding became a string of amazing metaphors that pop up and shine in bike travel, and life.
Photos 1,2 by Linda Baldwin. Photo 3 by Rita Renner Rowe.