Friday, March 15, 2019

Never Too Much

76 degrees today and it's a whole new world.

Of course, that meant the ants arrived in my kitchen, not the full colony but definitely a scouting party out on a sunny afternoon. I don't know where they've been all these cold months, but they're baaack.

The real pleasure was in getting to take my first shower in 2019 with the large bathroom window fully open (and by large, I mean 3' x 3' not bad for a room often designed with notoriously small windows). What was truly glorious was getting out the shower and not feeling cold. I could get used to this.

When Mr. Wright showed up, we ambled over to the Main Library for a presentation by Adventure Cycling Association, a group that does everything it can to get ordinary people on two wheels and doing cycling trips that involve overnight stays.

So, as you can imagine, I fit right in like a sore thumb.

That's not true because on the table next to all the cycling magazines laid out for the taking were boxes and boxes of Red Eye cookies and I can eat with the best of them, so I snagged a chocolate chunk cookie and got out of the way of cyclists looking for fuel.

When the presentation began, the first thing the guy said was, "There's one cookie left, so if you're a sprinter, go for it now." With my cookie tucked safely inside a napkin, no sprinting was required on my part.

First there was a video showing two non-cyclists setting out on their first cross-country trip and documenting it, like millennials do. The video showed them hot and sweaty, eating everything in sight at a restaurant, facing the mountain they were about to climb ("Death," she predicts) and having a dance party on a deserted road. When they finally got to the 1,000 mile mark and he got excited, she pointed out that, "It only took us, like, 48 days."

Apparently such are the pleasures of cycling as transportation.

Next came a passionate cyclist/big cheese with ACA who basically waxed poetic about the joys of bicycle travel and bicycle tourism while showing us what he called, "Bike travel porn." Heart-stopping views of two people next to their bikes in Switzerland, pedaling along the Rhine River, laying in a field in Tuscany with their bikes laying on the ground near them.

As to how he got all those great shots, it's part of the ACA ethos to send them a photo of you on a cycling journey.

But every now and then, he'd slide in something to fuel the movement. He shows us a picture of him and the Professor of Bike Tourism in Australia, gushing, "That's a job!"

Reminder: we can make this happen.

Then back to a shot of Quebec bathed in golden light and some very happy and tired people posing next to something interesting, their bikes at their side. The return of bike travel porn.

He tells the audience that Alaska was the first state to pave roads for cyclists. I heard about the new Johnny Cash Trail that loops around Folsom, with public art (like a 30' high rendering of Cash) and trail markers shaped like guitar picks. About the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route which starts off in Mobile, Alabama. He showed maps featuring all the new trails and how they're driving cycle tourism.

"And cyclists go to small towns, not just big cities," he enthused. "And they eat a lot!" Tell me about it. Those cookies were history just like drunk women's shoes after the wedding ceremony is over.

One guy went cross country and carried a hand lawnmower so he could earn money along the way to pay for his ride.

By the time the talk was over, every cyclist in the room (so, everyone in the room except me) was psyched, pumped up, feeling the call of the multi-day ride. So many routes, so many vistas, so many potential Instagram posts.

And adventures, I know, I know.

Afterward, conversations sprung up between less experienced people wanting to talk to cross country pros, while I had my eye on the prize. Food. Bike travel porn only get a girl so far.

We dipped into Bar Solita where every booth was taken but the bar was completely empty, sort of Edward Hopper-ish. Not a bicycle in sight.

And we ate. A lot. Maybe I do have the makings of a cyclist after all.


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