“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
It was the frogs that got me. I don’t know when I’d ever been out and heard so many frogs. Then I heard the birds. Then I noticed the smell of the flowers. I had to stop.
When I started cycling I was living in Loring Park. The Cedar Lake trail was less then a mile from my front door, so it made sense that I would ride it a lot. A lot. I can’t count how many times I rode that trail as well as the Greenway and all of the trails that link up to it. Frankly, after a while, I got bored with the standard route and started making new combinations of the trails. Eventually, once I started riding with others and commuting, I eventually almost completely stopped riding the Cedar Lake trail and the Greenway for their own sake. I think I did 2 rides on the Greenway/Cedar Lake loop last year.
When I started commuting, part of the impetus was that I could ride to work and then home afterwards and not only knock out 28 miles for the day, as well as save a gallon of gasoline each round-trip, but that I wouldn’t need to go out after getting home. I got home from the ride and I was done. I could chill, watch TV, read, blog (hey!), etc. If I wanted to, I could still go for a ride after work and really pile on the miles. I figured I’d increase my riding time a lot. I did a few times, but not very often. If I want more miles, I take a longer route home, but ultimately commuting didn’t really change my mileage all that much.
When I ride, I ride fast. I’m not hammerhead, at least, I don’t think so, but I probably am. I don’t always go all out, but I go hard. Even when I’m not trying to, I do. I can’t stop. It’s almost a bit of a pathology. Slowing down sucks. I don’t stop and look around.
I fell in love with the Cedar Lake trail because it’s such an easy place to ride. No cars, few stops, easy terrain. I fell in love with cycling because it was the one time when I could just get out and clear my head. Think about things differently. Maybe think about work, maybe not. You know how sometimes you do your best thinking in the bathroom? Same thing with cycling. It’s a lot harder to get lost in thought, however, when you’re dodging traffic. You can do it, but it’s not the same.
A couple of nights ago, after feeling guilty about being scared off of commuting by a threat of rain, feeling a bit antsy after driving home and feeling like I needed some quality time with my A bike, I decided to head out to the old standard, the Cedar Lake trail. Having recently finished raining, I noticed that the trail was less busy than normal. I was cool with this. Sometimes the Greenway gets super-busy, which is awesome, but for a guy who wants to go fast, it’s not the place. Personally, I hate the pathletes who ride super-hard through the Greenway when it’s not really safe to do so. I mean, it’s a route for kids, families, walkers, joggers, dogs and yes, fast cyclists. But for real, if you want to blast at 25+, you’re better off on the road. Cars aren’t scary when you’re moving their speed.