There are places I go reflexively. The water tower (above) is one of them. Less than half a mile from my house, it looms over the hill we live on, a hulking mass of stone that contains nearly 2 million gallons of water. Architecturally, it’s a throwback. They don’t make them like that anymore. It’s just a water tower, but for me, it’s something special.
I seldom do a long ride that doesn’t end there, the highest point on any return trip, the icing on whatever leg-shredding cake I’ve been able to bake that day. I walk the dog up there in the early hours, a good spot to see the sun come up over the Atlantic and bathe Boston in whatever light we’ll get for the day.
There is another tower, this one riveted metal, rusting at its seams, that sits quietly in the local woods where I ride my mountain bike. Its base is scrawled with graffiti, some of it artful and fantastically executed, some of it profane and shitty. This is another place I can’t help but go. There is a swoopy, switchback climb to get there. The tower itself is the trophy.
I saw this article in the Guardian about how our brains react to geographical locations more readily and more intensely than they do to objects. The place you went on your honeymoon affects you more deeply than looking at your wedding ring does, for example. Something about places helps us connect to ideas and feelings larger than ourselves.
I buy it.
Cycling is full of iconic places, from the trails at Repack to the top of Alpe d’Huez, but I suspect most of the places that mean the most to us are local and easy to identify.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what are your local spots? How do you get there? What’s special about them?