January 16, 2015
The bicycle is the perfect vehicle to take it all in. All of your senses are available to soak in the epic views, the blossoms of spring, the bird calls, the local ice cream. I've had moments on bicycle journeys where the beauty of my surroundings is so overwhelming I've had to literally slam on my brakes to stop and process it all before moving on.
But there are times in a bike journey when the surroundings don't inspire; when traffic or headwinds drown out the bird song, and man's scars on the planet mar nature's beauty. It is during these times that I like to take a macro adventure.
It is simply the act of narrowing your focus, like a macro lens on a camera, and finding the beauty.
A glaring example of macro adventure was our ride out of Phenom Phenh in Cambodia. We'd pedaled out of the city, but weren't quite out in the country. Much of the garbage of city life lined the road and ditches, and the way was flat and hot. It was one of those rides, where I didn't want to linger, just get it over with.
I glanced to my right and saw a flooded field filled with lotus plants. The litter and heat canceled out the beauty of the blossoms. Until I stopped pedaling, got off my bike, grabbed my camera, and got down on my knees and "went macro".
The closer I focused the more stunning the blossoms became. I was transported to this tiny world of beauty I'd overlooked before. This macro moment was the respite I needed to move on.
When the big view gets you down, go macro. Beauty can be mined from the bleakest of landscapes.
Photos by Willie Weir and Kat Marriner
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and 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.