Friday, September 18, 2009


It’s easy enough to forget that one of the best things about bike riding is riding your bike.

When so many nights’ entertainments include lake-swimming, or bull-running, or fry-eating, one is liable to overlook the part about bike-riding which, while admittedly, is not entirely what it’s all about, is the common feature that binds things together.

But then, you get a night like last, where before there’s even a stop to pee, you’re as far south as you usually go, and even before beer is bought, you’re sufficiently distant from downtown that kids on BMX bikes are riding over from the skatepark to see what the fuck is going on, and even with a hill so long, you can test the hypothesis that cursing acts as a painkiller over and over again, you still arrive a waterfront park in a whole different municipality more or less completely sober and early enough that the unofficial caretaker is still sufficiently awake to get in his car and drive over to check that no graffiti is being painted or litter left behind.

I’ve been wondering a lot lately about whether free will is an illusion in our deterministic universe, but if it is, I sure am glad that events have unfolded since the Big Bang such that my participation a thirty-plus mile bike ride after dark on the last Thursday of summer was not only possible, but inevitable, and that even with all the pedaling, there was still time to hang around a fire on the beach and close down not just one, but two bars before the night was out.

The switch-backed gravel road out of the park was steeper than I remember, and longer, too, but it eventually earned the kind of downhill that goes on and on while your heart rises higher and higher in your throat and reminds you once more how utterly fine it is to be out on a bike ride, riding your bike.


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