Friday, March 29, 2013

Moments to Savor

If we could only halt the clock and relish those fleeting moments and hold them close. It happens while I'm with friends, my husband, even when pedaling alone. Some events repeat themselves—thank goodness—which may be the sole reason why many of us ride. I'm thinking of more than obvious health benefits or transportation, but to capture the sublime instance that—though it may not linger—makes riding a bike worthwhile.

Lake Champlain sunset.

1. When the sun kisses the Adirondacks. 
Sunsets are special on Lake Champlain. I make it a point to ride along the waterfront on summer evenings so I can pause, put one foot on a rail or straddle my bike, and watch the ball of gold, orange, or even red if it's an especially hot day, slide down the New York side, glimmering across 10 miles of water. Sunsets the world over hold the power to entrance, but the view from Burlington is poignant. There are very few places in hilly Vermont where uninterrupted views stretch that wide. Lake Champlain, provides a sense of serenity; its sunsets are to-die-for. Lucky me.

2. Late morning in Provence.
After riding in southern France last year, I've come to appreciate the sun-worshipper's' paradise, which is Provence. It's a dry climate, full of luscious fragrance and harvests. I loved pedaling late morning. Muscles are warmed. It's not too hot. Olive trees are sage-colored with distance hills shining in purple pastels. There is always a breeze. It's the moment when I feel like I could pedal a 100 miles. Throw in a row of plane trees and I'm in heaven.

3. Enough nourishment and a camping spot within grasp.
Food has special significance to a touring cyclist. I daydream about food while I'm pedaling and especially strawberry daiquiris when it's humid. And more often than not, by early afternoon I want to know where we will spend the night. Given my normal tent travels with flexible mileage, or—heaven forbid—throw in a major bike problem, locating a campsite and food before dinnertime can be a monumental task. But occasionally things work out without a hitch and it's all the sweeter because I used my two legs to power my adventure. If I'm lucky there might even be a place to buy a beer. I have, however, given up on the idea of a daiquiri.

Sorry, no photo of husband with steaming mug. I made this brew on a solo trip last summer.
4. Waking to hear someone lighting the stove.
I could name many special sights on our worldwide travels (Taj Mahal, Himalayas come to mind), but nothing is as comforting as waking in a foreign land to the sound of  a hissing stove. It means my husband has risen and is heating water for coffee. Sure, he rattles pots. Nor do I mind that it's dawn on a hot day. It's the ceremony that counts, a bonding agent that means "drink the familiar, then let's pedal and see what's around the bend". Most days, even 20 years later, my love thoughtfully hands a steaming mug to the tent door. Or, maybe he's just trying to wake me up. But as a woman, I'll pretend there's more to it than that.

5. Feeling strong and forgetting to turn into my workplace.
I relish that sweet spot every Spring when my legs have acclimated to commuter riding. It means my mind can now wander and ponder all the things I've been meaning to think about that only happen when I ride a bike. Like bike overnights. I wonder where that bird spends the night. Or, what to do about a problem child. Heavy or light subjects—doesn't matter. Is it time to look for another job? Speaking of work, why did I just pass the turn?

What bicycle moments would you savor?


  1. Just riding along some of the pretty spots near home. I haven't ridden on really long trips at all, but some of the spots here are beside the river or the lake or the sea and riding there is really beautiful. Vicki

  2. Hi Annie
    A post you wrote a good while back , made me look at the local area with new eyes. I am amazed at things I notice, that have been there a while, but just seem to pop out .
    We've had unseasonably cold weather here in the UK so our early season cyclecamp has been postponed . Still we've been out cycling in light snow and enjoyed ourselves. Maybe will do an overnighter soon.
    Brenda in the Boro

  3. "If we could only halt the clock and relish those fleeting moments and hold them close."
    I suppose that's why we always carry a camera and we blog.
    I savor the rides in new places with my spouse.

  4. I was riding to work the other day, autumn here in Australia and I was riding along a busy road in the opposite direction to the traffic flow, there was a void of traffic and the road was smooth and empty, the morning was still and clear, I could feel the warmth of the sun, it was just me.
    I could have ridden all day at that moment... but then you shocked back into reality when the traffic catches up... and you have watch out for the car turning.....

    1. That sounds so nice. Solitude and warmth. Ride on.

  5. On a really good day on my local 11 mile loops I can see the Olympic range, here the crunch of gravel under my tires as I ride the path through Lincoln Park along the water, a whale spout in the Puget Sound, a Ferry crossing Elliot bay, the young and fit playing beach volleyball on Alki, the Cascade range, Mt. Rainier standing like a hulking sentinel in the distance as I labor up a 6% grade, the smell of freshly baked croissants as I pass bakery Nouveau, the clink of coffee cups and hissing of the espresso machine in C&P coffee at the end of my ride.


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