Sunday, April 26, 2009
another ode to biking
the weather in the northeast is finally of a caliber i would call fucking fantastic. as i write this, my door-sized windows (actually they are doors but they don't lead anywhere except a three-story death drop) are wide open and the warmcool air that's usually reserved for the dogrider days of summer is filling my room. i just rode my bike home through this intoxicating weather and i was reminded of my biking adventures thus far in 2009.
let me first state that i am really an advocate of biking. i am by no means what you'd call a "biker" (i.e. no distinguishing clothing, no road bike, no crew of bros on bikes) but i am very much enamored with riding my bike through cities and forests and everywhere in between. i ride a big conspicuous mountainbike, a trek, and i like to take it anywhere it will let me. one of the things i like about biking is you create all your own energy for your vehicle. your speed and endurance is generated entirely by your own will; there's no other fuel source to worry about or throw money into. also it reminds me of sprinting incredibly fast but ALL THE TIME. even when you are catching your breath there is still the possibility of traveling at high speeds. lastly, there is an adventurous feel to traveling on a bike, something that hiking comes close to but doesn't fulfill in the same way. i think it's the combination of the journey and the speed. this is especially poignant when bombing through a forested trail and playing the lord of the rings theme in your head at full volume.
in this first quarter of the new year i've already had a variety of bikeventures, let's call them (yeah, i don't have many friends). one of the first truly warm days this year was so unseasonable that it got all fucked up by clashing high and low pressure systems and crazy storms resulted. riding out into the warmth, i was greeted halfway into my trip by the craziest sunshowers ever. the sun was bright above but the rain was whipping in sideways out of nowhere. i got absolutely soaked but was rewarded with a gigantic and perfectly arched rainbow over the delaware river. somehow it was all very symbolic; the sunshowers, the rainbow, life, the universe, my bike. i think it meant everything's going to be ok.
oh god are we still going with this post? phew, ok. this season of bikings also holds the farthest distance i have yet to travel in a single day, which was roughly 50 miles. i went from my apartment in south philly, along the scenic schuylkill river, all the way to valley forge, pa and back. i could not move for a little while after i got back. clearly it was awesome. i was considering not doing the whole thing but then saw a huge factory on fire and remembered that going out and seeing things was better then not, so i continued on through a brown haze of smoke and toward my eventual goal. this also had some symbolism but i don't wanna get into it.
today's bikescursion (yeah, basically no friends) was a reminder that you can't always go out and rock n roll when it's 94 degrees and you've barely eaten anything. i tried to hit up one of my mountainbiking haunts outside philly and shit was good for about 5 seconds before the heat and the hills combined to punch me in the face. i was in a bad way, walking my bike over terrain i would usually attack head on. i noticed that i wasn't very sweaty and in fact was getting goosebumps and this usually means you're about to have a heat stroke so i called it a day and got a milkshake at this really good place down the street. it was a trying experience and largely unpleasant (sans milkshake) but i equate it to just another tale of bikeventure. there will always be difficulties and hills you simply have to walk your bike up because they're too fucking steep and loose, but that's part of the journey. if there weren't hills and heat and rainstorms out of nowhere, you'd never see the forest or the industrial fire or the rainbow's perfect arc across the sky. i know this is a very obvious point to be making, but it reveals itself time and again through the simple act of moving forward on a bike. the journey is the destination, and vice versa.
i love this fucking bike.