If this little corner of the interwebs went suddenly silent, it might be in reaction to a book If finally I find another secret piece of the simple living puzzle, it might involve trading the virtual for the authentic. Perhaps I'd cease wasting so much time amusing myself with pictures of bicycles, reading stories about adventures I'll never experience, written by people I'm unlikely to meet, and trying to resist upgrading all of my machines with another thing I don't need. I'm reading a compelling book and, while I haven't decided yet, this blog might flat-line.
The implications of this book are frightening and convicting. There are productive and needful things to be done, but I stare at a backlit screen. About three years ago, I shut off the TV, but it seems I've replaced the TV with the internet. I am a victim of the distraction of readily available information. It is a flood of data, words, and images without meaning. Could I be addicted?
If you still have an attention span long enough to read a book, I suggest...
Late July in north Texas encourages an early start. Being already out there somewhere when the sun leaps off the horizon means one can get a fair amount of quality time with his bicycle before it becomes a bit uncomfortable.
It also means one can take full advantage of that awesome sideways golden light as he crunches along on those empty gravel byways.
I've could have posted many photos, but this is what I remember most. The route had paved and unpaved roads. It had smooth and rough, hilltops and valleys, towns and wide open spaces. The biggest impression on this hot summer day, however, was the patch work on the gravel rollers of County Road 4010.
I had mapped-out a low-traffic route to Decatur, Texas, and I've been wanting to try it out on the bike for months. Since my bride agreed to meet me there and drive me home, we did brunch in the County Seat.
Why was CR 4010 memorable? I don't know. Maybe it riding into the west wind. Maybe it was the steep, relentless gravel rollers. Maybe it was the frequent stretches of "repair work". Do you see those lighter-than-normal patches in the photo above? Those are 2-inch deep patches of 1-inch gravel marbles. As I drifted (rolled) sideways across the road, I realized even my 42mm wide Hetres were not optimal for those areas. I'm not sure what is.
Well I did find me a low-traffic route to Decatur. That should get me reasonable access to a future camping spot in the National Grasslands one of these days. Maybe in cooler weather. It's low-traffic all right, but there are some challenging bits I won't forget.
Because much of northwest Denton County is pasture, trees are often small and limited to roadsides or flood prone areas. So when I pedal by a hilltop residence surrounded by larger trees, I pause to feel the breeze.
When the Kogswell P/R was out of service, it was a dark time. My effort to provide for generator hubs on two bikes (instead of sharing), cause me to be months with the Kogswell sans front wheel. I had multiple bad experiences locally trying to get a wheel built. Then I considered buying/borrowing a stand, and building one myself. Research, deliberating, and real life activities happened, and time marched on. Local bike shop disillusionment, indecision, and no P/R. If it weren't for my A. Homer Hilsen, I would have thought I was living in Eeyore's gloomy place, rather boggy and sad.
But it was a lovely dawn. I picked up my newly built wheel yesterday, and am pleased to report that quality bike shops still exist. Bernie and Bryan at Trinity Bicycles in Fort Worth built it right the first time, and delivered on schedule. It's a long drive for me, but these guys are interested in long-term relationships, and I'll be back. Thanks, guys.
So, I've pedaled out of the shadows, and into the morning light. It was mighty fine to be rolling the fixed wheel again. In and out of the Clear Creek valley in northwest Denton County, my simple place.
With a big push on the last day of the month, I achieved my monthly saddle time goal for June. If things go according to plan, I'll get a little ahead during the early part of July.
As I mentioned 6 months ago, I've established goals for my riding in 2010. The idea is to spend at least some minimum time on the bike each month of the year. A half year into my journey, I've met or exceeded my goals every month.
Of course, my goals are rather modest. In addition to targeting hours (rather than miles or average speed), I interpret my rules to favor pleasure over fitness. For example, I might ride 3 miles out to an empty gravel road, sit around with a cuppa for 30 minutes of sunrise solitude, ride back, and log an hour out on the bike.