I sat at my desk, on my couch, in my car, all winter long, not thinking of anything but how horribly disappointed I was with the weather. Sisyphus meet stone. Stone, this is Sisyphus. Occasionally, I was able gee myself up enough to ride through snow and cold, but for some reason I didn’t dare think of the spring. I couldn’t bring myself to daydream.
Now that the sun has warmed the ground and the temperature is flirting with pleasantry, my mind is suddenly aflame with ideas about places to ride my bike.
One of my regular ride partners is in New Zealand this week, riding from waterfall to mountain, filling his face with pastry and generally living life right. His pictures are a long distance taunt.
Then I got involved in a brief research project, for work, on some of the best places on the planet to ride mountain bikes. As it is my job to bring such places to life in flowery prose, I found myself deliquescent with ride lust, as susceptible to my own words as I hope our putative customers will be.
For example, there is a loop just outside Quezon City, Phillipines which requires portage of the bike over simple log bridges that span low, rumbling rivers. There are rideable wooden byways affixed to the sides of cliffs that lead out into the blazing verdance that rings greater Manila on the north, east and south. Single track beats its way through palm cover out to the Wawa Dam in the foothills of the Sierra Madre.
This is a long way from the New England winter.
I am used to dreaming of Flandrien cobbles, which as I understand it is far preferable to actually riding on them. I am accustomed to picturing myself on the switchbacks of Alpe d’Huez. These aren’t so much visions of riding as they are convenient tropes for being in a much happier cycling place. This last week of wishing myself away has been much more vivid.
And so, this week’s Group Ride asks, if you could be ANYWHERE else this week, anywhere in the world, on your bike and in good weather, where would you be riding? The upland savanna outside Pietermaritzburg? The south of France? Pais Vasco? Chilean Patagonia?
Image: Ramon F Velasquez