Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Regular Riding Route

After nearly four days of continuous rain and dreary weather, the sun finally returned to Boston on Thursday afternoon. So I rushed home after work, threw on my bicycling clothes, and headed out on my regular cycling route. I've ridden it so often for so many years, the bike just knows where to go.

The puddles from the past four days hadn't quite disappeared yet...

...and my legs felt a little creaky after the forced rain delay. But that's the great thing about having a route you ride all the time. You instinctively know the best way to pace yourself up every hill, how much to lean into each curve, and the ideal place to drop down to the small gears for challenging climbs or ratchet up to the massive gears for the flats.

Having such familiarity with a route also enables you to notice parts of the landscape that are in a constant state of change, like the flowers on the side of the road...

... and the ebb and flow of the sea ...

Riding a bike, I feel like I'm aware of these things in an almost sixth-sense kind of way. It's different than other outdoor activities like taking a long walk, where you have time to think about what you're seeing. Speeding by on a 21-speed aluminum road bicycle, many details of the ride skip through your mind like a stone on water. Eventually they sink in, but sometimes it's not until later in the day ... sitting at work, having lunch at a cafe, or on the subway ride home. But that's the beauty of a great bike ride -- it keeps unfolding long after it's ended.

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