I was asked to speak at a transportation conference. As you can imagine, this was a source of mirth for many of my friends, but I went anyway, and I stood in front of a room of about 150 people and talked about cycling as a mode of transportation in Massachusetts. I forget most of what I told those people. The highlights (for me) were the end, when I waxed rhapsodic about how great a place to ride our home state really is, and then a part of the question and answer section where I told a lady who was reluctant to commute to work because the helmet messed up her hair, not to wear a helmet. You would have thought I’d recommended bank robbery.
Afterwards a nice man came up to me and thanked me for extolling the virtues of simply riding a bike locally. He ran a small bike touring business, and he knew what I knew, which is that, despite having no real cache in the larger veloverse, Massachusetts has a lot to offer, beautiful winding roads through farm country (actually all our roads everywhere are winding…apparently straight lines weren’t invented until long after our state was fully mapped), plenty of packed dirt, Class IV stuff, with long climbs and scenic views, and mountain biking of many varied flavors.
Also, we’re in New England. The other states, the ones right next door, have more and better and it all flows together into a pretty magical place to turn the pedals.
Also, this is the United States of America. We have rail trails hundreds of miles long. We have the desert Southwest and the lushly forested Pacific Northwest. Is there any place in this country that doesn’t have some cyclomagic to offer?
But then I get to spend time in Wales, too. And in Wales I get whiplash from sawing my head around to see every dirt path, picturesque ride by, and twisting carriage road worth riding. I’ve never been in a more densely awesome outdoor environment. But I haven’t traveled like some of you have.
This week’s Group Ride asks, if you could only ride in one country for the rest of your life, which one would you choose? I’ve left France for one (or more) of you to extoll. I’d love to hear about someplace I don’t expect to hear about, like Namibia. I’d like to hear more about Japan and Vietnam. It’s tough to say, just one country, but I know that I could limit myself to tiny Wales, for example, and never, ever get bored.
Image: Mountain Bike Wales