Friday, March 22, 2013

Shifting Within the Spectrum

Shorter adventures fill my wanderlust these days compared with lengthy trips in the
 80s and 90s. Notice, the Trek Antelope held up on a long tour and is still in use
today (left photo, 2012).
The 1980s were a blur of cycling across the country, working briefly in Houston, then settling in Oregon and getting married. It was a time of high energy, high adventure in the Cascades: back-country skiing, climbing volcanoes. Occasionally we went on long rides: my first century (on my own in the hills near Mount Saint Helens), several double centuries (back to back 100 mile days), and an organized tour with Cycle Oregon on the Oregon Trail (400 miles across the state).

This life carried over through the mid-90s until the move back to Vermont. Then children provided an extra challenge. But little by little, the adventure is coming back. I'm learning to make the time away from home count. I appreciate the shorter tours. I'm confident going solo. I've learned to lighten the  gear I haul. Bike overnights, especially, have a charm all their own. You can carry more: bottle of wine, leave the stove at home, pack a pillow, eat breakfast at a restaurant because—what the heck—it's only for one night.

Always a constant, since my teens, remains bike commuting. It's my freedom from the car. It keeps me fit. I commuted year-round in Portland, Oregon—rain or no rain. And now, I'm back to at least 8 months of riding—all except the coldest, iciest days. It's my daily salve. I can't imagine life without it.

And maybe, if our health holds, my favorite touring partner and I will be back on the road someday, on an extended trip in some foreign land. In the meantime, we carry on, squeezing in those little trips that are oh so important, keeping the fire alive.

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