Hello! I’m back from vacation (which feels weird to type since I’m a semi-professional bike blogger so what am I “vacationing” from, really?), and I gotta tell you it’s sooo great to be home because I really missed traffic lights.
Once again, I committed to the Rivendell for the duration of my trip, and once again I have absolutely no regrets:
Though once again I also gave myself an out clause by bringing the American M-16:
While ostensibly for my wife’s use, I also appropriated it occasionally when I felt like a break from the dignified, upright posture of the Rivendell.
Even though we’ve been vacationing in the same spot for six years now, my velocipedal explorations have been piecemeal, since I don’t fuck off for hours at a time when there’s important family recreating to be done. Nevertheless, I did manage to unlock some new routes this time around, including a few impressive stretches of that most au courant of road surfaces, namely gravel:
In fact, every time I did so I heard this in my head:
And yes, dry gravel roads are not filthy, but still.
Of course, by its very nature, exploration occasionally involves encountering obstacles that are not reflected by maps:
Yet boldly, I pressed on:
And in doing so I had something of a revelation, which was that walking can in fact be an integral–and even enjoyable–part of cycling.
Indeed, so indominable was I that I was even undaunted when confronted by wild animals such as this one:
Just think of the wart it could have given me!
Speaking of revelations, at a hair under three weeks this latest vacation was the longest I’ve been away from home in my adult life. Not only did I learn that you can be perfectly happy riding around in sneakers with access to neither drop bars nor Lycra, but I also discovered that funny things start happening to you towards the end of Week Two when you spend enough time away from the city. For example, when I saw that the local Walmart sold BB guns, I went ahead and bought one. (I grew up stalking sun-bleached Budweiser cans with a BB gun on the shores of Jamaica Bay and I wanted my son to share the experience, however briefly.) In attempting to familiarize myself with the laws pertaining to airgun use in various jurisdictions, I discovered it’s all rather confusing–one could argue pointlessly so. This was frustrating, and I found myself thinking, “If only there were some organization working to make it simpler for responsible people like me to safely use–oh, right…”
Similarly, when driving our refuse to the recycling center (as a coddled citydweller I’ve never lived anyplace where people didn’t show up to magically whisk your trash away while you sleep), I learned that being in a hot car full of garbage in August sucks. As the cloying stench engulfed me, I mused, “If only there were some type of vehicle where the driver and passengers sat in some sort of cab and the cargo could be stored in a separate compartment–perhaps even one that was open and uncovered for easy loading and unloading–oh, right…”
Yes, one person’s “domestic terrorist organization” is another person’s trusted advocate, and one person’s “microphallus compensation mobile” is another person’s indispensable workhorse. Even more confusingly, context is everything, and each of these things can be one or the other, or both, or neither, all depending on how or where they’re used. We’d all do well to remember that when we argue about them…but of course we won’t. And this explains pretty much everything about America.