Posts tagged ‘book’
rabbit, fox … and turtle
Some cyclists are fleet like rabbits, some quick or clever like foxes … as for me, I am more like a turtle. Usually getting waylaid on the side of the road with my camera, and having to be prodded to get moving. Eventually I manage to get where I am going.
Yesterday we decided to explore some new territory. I’ve had a local route book on my shelf for almost a year now – (Chattanooga area) Bicycling Routes by Elle Colquitt. It’s filled with nice maps, cue sheets, and route descriptions for some interesting-looking rides in the Chattanooga area and into north Georgia. I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t made as much as much use of it as I should. I tend to be a creature of habit, and end up riding my favorite roads more often than exploring new ones. Like I said, I am a turtle.
While many of the routes would (realistically) necessitate driving to some not-so-nearby starting point, one of the routes begins almost out my front door. It’s called “Chasing Down the Rabbit and the Fox”, named for Rabbit Valley Road and Black Fox Road.
I am guessing that nearly half of the photos on this blog come from points along Rabbit Valley Road and White Oak Valley; they are the roads we tend to ride a lot. They are beautiful and bicycle friendly. I have established friendships with many cows along the way. But a good portion of the Black Fox Road side of the loop was new and un-ridden territory for us … so we decided to give it a go. And I am glad we did.
I would describe the route as very easy – a great leisurely Sunday ride for us turtle-types. Mostly gently rolling, good pavement, low traffic. The hillier parts are ones we are already familiar with, on the White Oak Valley side. One very short “whoop-y” little climb, but otherwise easy on the legs and lovely to the eye. We ran across several other small groups of cyclists along the way, which makes me believe it is a pretty popular route. And while I took some photos, I was focussed on taking in the new scenery and enjoying the ride. So much so that I didn’t pay enough attention to regularly sipping from my water bottles, and ended up with a post-ride sun/dehydration headache. Dumbness.
The first of April brings another #30daysofbiking to the table. I applaud several of my friends who are making a go of it again – Myrna, BlueAllez (aka FritterMan), and DIsabled Cyclist. While I really enjoyed my past experiences with both #30daysofbiking, and my subsequent #330daysofbiking, I have debated about committing to another. I may, I may not. We’ll see. At this point, I am not officially putting my name on the list, but may try and keep a Flickr set – one photo from each day. If I make it through to the end, I may write a post. Maybe.
Meanwhile, a tip of my cycling cap to my friends – and I wish you all many happy miles and adventures. For me, silly business as usual … and a few scenes from yesterday.
(Can you spy the cyclist?)
There is a long list of things that comes to mind when thinking of summer: popsicles, baseball games, watermelon, swimming pools, the beach, bicycles. Probably not Siberia – or riding a bicycle through Siberia – but it’s about all I can think about, read about, through these infernal days of heat and humidity.
The heat is sweltering here; a recent article claims we’re in the midst of the hottest six months in recorded history. Another reminder – along with the mess in the Gulf – from Mother Nature: ride and walk more, drive less? I’d like to think so, but also admit that it’s a difficult task in this kind of weather. And you have to be willing to arrive everywhere dripping with sweat and looking like hell; no room for a shred of vanity, that’s for sure. But hey, as Stephen Markley penned – “We didn’t need a world with a functioning climate anyway.”
Back to Siberia … Rob Lilwall’s book, Cycling Home From Siberia, is beautiful, remarkable, inspiring, and the perfect summer read in the midst of a heat wave. What began as a preposterous undertaking to begin with – his plan to spend one year cycling from a far-eastern city in Siberia, in winter, all the way home to England – turned into an epic 3-year/3-continent/30,000-mile cycling odyssey. It is filled with fascinating detail, humor, and yes – the expected drama and dire circumstances you might expect. But it is written in an amazingly unpretentious and even very spiritual voice. It is a beautiful story – on so many levels.
It’s a story that is filled with human (versus super-human) moments; his “humanness” and honesty draws you in, while the adventures keep you turning pages. And ok – the guy rode over 30,000 miles, so there is a fair amount of super-human in there as well, for you feats-of-incredibleness junkies. But with chapter titles ranging from “Over Mordor” (ch.1 – yes, in reference to Tolkien’s gloom-filled world), to “The budgerigar and the naked weatherman” (ch. 11) and ” ‘I’ve had enough of this stupid bike ride’ “ (ch. 36) … it is entertaining, often funny, sometimes sad, sometimes frightening, yet always so very real. A better description appears on the back cover:
A gripping story of endurance and adventure, this is also a spiritual journey, providing poignant insight into life on the road in some of the world’s toughest corners.
Get your hands on a copy and read it. Period. That’s all I’m going to say.
A final note to my kind friends and those of you who commented on my last post: your insight has been most valuable to me, and I greatly appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts – and even more for listening to me and reading. It has really helped me, and has made a difference.
#330daysofbiking update: today I have ridden 110 of the past 117 days …. 248 days remain. And so it goes. (As I wish for a blast of arctic air to blow over from Siberia).