A friend called in the middle of the night last night, and I stayed up with her chatting as she traveled hours to a destination. When I awoke in the final hours of the AM side of Saturday, instead of finding myself in the usual position of looking for breakfast or a book, I quickly dressed and entered my car to a bicycle store to see if I could get a feel for a bike I’d like to own in the future. Suffice to say, even at this point on Saturday, I’m still consumed by thoughts of cycling.
I am to blame for this continuing thinking about cycling everywhere. It was May of last year when many months of budgeting and planning resulted in the purchase of my Trek Valencia. I purchased it to be my main commuting vehchle to the office – then an 8 mile (each way) commute. But, I was soon on a project that was a 35mi (each way) commute, and so biking here in Charlotte had to be reserved for evenings and weekends.
That’s not been a bad thing – at least it wasn’t except for those times when it rained for weeks in a row it seemed in the evenings and weekends. But, it never deterred my intentions of riding. And in moving on from that position to MMM, I’m getting many more chances on my bike to not just ride to the office, but also find pieces of my body that I used to know very well.
The past three days have been very revealing. For the first two days, it was 95F with high humidity, and I still rode. I remembered the sweat that used to fall back in PA when I rode on days like those, only to spend energy teaching and playing with teens, only to have to ride home and live from there. My muscles remembered.
Yesterday’s ride in particular was one of those meditative rides. I wanted to know if I was truly ready to make the ride across town and back. What would my body feel like on the way back? What are my real limits? And what does that information mean for the other aspects of my life? I rode almost 2/3 the way across Charlotte. Then took some long and convoluted route through the center of the city, back to the downtown area, and then home. It lasted only 90 or so minutes, but even 24hrs later my legs have throbbing memories. I used to just ride like that. My dad used to just ride like that. There are many memories on wheels.
Which brings me to this morning and the run out the door. I’m planning on purchasing a second bicycle, perhaps in a year’s time. I’d like to be at the point with riding where this second bike is able to be a road-only long mile affair. To that end I’m concentrated on looking at a road bike. The one that’s caught my eye is Trek’s Districk Carbon. That bike is nothing like anything I’ve ridden, and in many respects is probably much more than I’m even looking for. But, like my Valencia, it’s unique and very purposed for certain types of rides. The District Carbon seems perfect for the kind of route that I did through Charlotte yesterday… the kind where you are one with the urban features, complimentary to the landscape, and at the same time a notable and distinct difference from everything else on the road.
And yes, a carbon fiber bike like that is just pretty as all get out.
Having had these thoughts all day, I encouraged that I’m not the only person in this area enjoying moments on the velo. This one guy has a site (CarFree.us) where he’s trying to make it as a biking-mainly type of commuter here. It’s hard in Charlotte. The roads outside of certain points just aren’t friendly for cycling. There’s a notable amount of discord between cyclists and motorists. The city just isn’t well designed for it after a certain point. It is hard, don’t get me wrong. But, it is possible even here to live mostly on a cycle (and he does it with a wife and family).
Right now, I’m debating what church to attend in the AM. There are a few that I’d like to visit and connect. However, there’s a dress code for some of these communities, and sweaty isn’t usually part of it. I’d like to think that biking would be great, but I need to measure that against the realities of the region.
Of course, if I were to get out there early enough, I’d be traveling with a church of a different kind. A group of folks worshiping in garbs of spandex and lycra, turning flesh into water (sweat). And many of these folks won’t have the same perspective towards riding that I do – to me, its an activity of worship before one of exercise. But, they will speak the same throbbing and rhythmic language that can only be met when the wheels hit the road. For that type of life, I long to not just remember my past, but ride victorously into a type of sustainable future that this region and others can be proud of.
But, to do it on that Carbon would be so, so sweet (wonder if Trek does reviewer gifts?).