Yep. I have a thing for going to a place a bicycle will take me, leaning it up against stuff, and taking pictures. Maybe it's a sort of visual journal for me, so that I can remember good times. Whatever the reason, one question kept coming to mind as A. Homer Hilsen patiently struck poses.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
It's a little early in the season to be tired of commenting on the heat, but I am. So I won't mention it here for awhile. I'll just say that I didn't ride very far this afternoon, because I didn't feel like it. Instead, me and A. Homer Hilsen went out and had ourselves a little photo shoot.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
In one morning of selfish indulgence, I motored down to Fort Worth to tour some of the prime trails along the Trinity River. It was selfish indulgence for a variety of reasons, a few of which are listed below.
An Hour Away
Since moving to Denton County, almost none of my rides involve packing the bike and driving to another start location for a bicycle ride. This has been an amazing privilege. The habit of starting from home has been so well-rehearsed that driving south an hour felt indulgent.
Seeing New Sights
As privileged as I am to live and ride where I do, I occasionally long to ride in other locations and see things I am not able to see on a typical ride. Knowing that Fort Worth has some nice trails along the river, and that I could overlap riding on these trails with rolling through an urban environment had a definite appeal.
Enlisting a Tour Guide
The biggest selfish indulgence of all was pressing fellow north Texas blogger Myles of Rat Trap Press into service as a tour guide. I don't remember the exact conversation, but it probably went something like this...
Me - "I'm coming to Fort Worth to ride in your neighborhood on Saturday, June 27."
Myles - "Okay"
Me - "I'll need you to drop whatever you have planned to show me around for a couple of hours."
Myles - "Sure"
Myles is just that kind of nice guy. However, just because I imposed on him, doesn't mean you should.
Instead of trying to find a place to park in a foreign land and riding around in places I have no business riding (while missing all the noteworthy areas), I had a knowledgable, local tour guide on two wheels. It doesn't get any better for the selfish indulgent bicycle tourist.
What About the Tour?
Myles knew all about how to find the quietest, low traffic urban roadways. He must have spent hours pouring over maps, preparing the perfect mix of roads and trails, centers of commerce, and peaceful park land. We toured older neighborhoods with houses designed and constructed with real personality and threaded our way through blocks of sky-scrapers.
It all started here at the agreed meeting place.
Then we headed into downtown.
My tour guide was well-prepared. I didn't ask him, but I'm guessing he had a first aid kit in that rear bag in case I skinned my knee or felt a little woozy in the Texas summer heat.
He pointed out various scenic and historic architecture, as well as local flora and fauna.
He showed me the local feral cat colony.
Myles told me about bikes he has bought and refurbished in the past. He told me about future bike project aspirations. Even today, he was riding a really cool bike...
...and being the consumate professional that he is, he let me ride it.
He took a photo of me for the family at one of the "don't-miss" sites. I probably would have avoided the city streets, stayed exclusively on the trail, and never found this place by myself.
Friday, June 26, 2009
My father often told me that time seems to speed up as you get older. It is clear that he was right.
I've started to notice that I do not plan my work day any longer by what I hope to complete in the morning or afternoon. I have already passed thinking in terms of what I'll do on a particular day. Now my routine is to partition my plans in terms of weeks and months. The good news is that I'm much more skilled at so-called long range planning. It came natural, because long range seems kinda short these days. The bad news is that sometimes more bizarre time-warp things happen.
My morning routine is fairly well-scripted. So each new day the activities are almost identical to the one before. This morning, as I began the shower/shave sequence, I had a creepy feeling that I had already done these activities and that I should move on to the next task. But I was remembering yesterday. I felt as if maybe I had simply stepped into the kitchen for a moment after showering and shaving and had just returned. Not so. Instead I had lived an entire day and slept through the night. Even though it seemed like only minutes had passed, it was time to shower and shave again. Already.
Can anyone tell me what month it is?
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Weather dot com says 95 degrees, feels like 101 degrees. I went out anyway. Maybe that's normal riding conditions for some of you desert dwellers, but even as a Texan, I try to schedule my outings in cooler conditions.
Cooler mornings or late evenings are preferred. Sometimes, however, when you have an opportunity, it's just best to grab it and go.
Didn't stay out long, took plenty of water, and rolled along rather slowly, but I was out there.
Maybe I'll go again later today when it's cooler.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Returning from a business trip to Orlando last week, I was tired but longing to get out and spin the cranks. I haven't been down Waide Road for awhile, so it was a gravel road kind of morning. The hills aren't all that big, but sometimes they can drop fairly abruptly toward the creek.
On this gravel road, there's not much traffic. It's sufficiently not-traveled to keep it from being paved and to make use of those old one lane bridges. Zero cars today on my out and back trip.
In preparation for the north Texas summer sun, I purchased a new hat. I can use it when I judge the conditions might not warrant a helmet.
Sometimes the gravel was easy cruising, but sometimes it was loose and deep and it felt like riding on marbles. Today's ride was not rushed.
Lot's of wide open spaces.
Plenty of quiet, not traffic riding.
And occasionally, I roll up on something to make me stop for a quick photo. It was as if someone specifically prepared this little garden in the bend for a rare passer-by.
Down near the creek, the trees sometimes provided a nice tunnel effect. With the sun sitting low, I had golden strobe flashes while my tires rolled across the road making that really fine Rice Krispies sort of sound.
One of the reasons this road has so little traffic in the area nearest my house. In other areas, there are just very few folks living there.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
More than most, it's the early Sunday rides that inspire me toward the longer distances. I imagine the entire tour like this. The early morning quiet, the birds singing, and the light breeze are sublime. The roads are empty, except for the occasional friendly farmer. I imagine that I'd be able to happen upon the timely downhill to refresh fatigued legs, or upon the well-placed group of trees to shade the Texas sun. I'd wave at those outdoors also enjoying the day. I imagine it would be like this, just like it was today, and I seek to extend the joy.
Maybe it isn't all just right. It is likely, I suppose, that the longer tour brings with it less than optimal conditions. Times of fatigue, hunger, frustration, urban noise and congestion, and less than friendly people probably would be encountered. Maybe there are inevitable low points to work through. There would be circumstances, let's say, that allow the bicycle traveler to achieve a sense of accomplishment.
So, yes, I'm inspired. This morning's ramble was quite the appetizer. Still, though there might be obstacles to overcome and challenges to face, I'm assuming they would make those Sunday morning like conditions even sweeter. Either way, I'm willing to give it a try.