This pandemic riding is getting old. I went around in circles for another 855 miles in November, riding 26 of 30 days. I managed one event, the WABA Cider Ride which was 55 1/2 miles long. All the rest of my rides began and ended at my house. I long for the day when I can point my bike in a direction and not end up where I started.
Riding around aimlessly may be somewhat boring but the effort keeps the demon depression at bay. I have to say that riding long solo tours has really been a godsend for my longer term mental health, especially in the world of social distancing. I miss my friends but solitude can be a comfort if you learn to let it be.
Another aspect about these pandemic rides is the occasional odd memory that pops into my head. I recall camping in a town park in Illinois with two men my age. We went out to dinner at the town family restaurant (a diner without the stools). They were headed east and I was going west.
From time to time I’ll remember a place that I can’t, well, place. Where was that? What state? Nothing remarkable happened but the experience of being there was stored in some recess of my mind. Circle, Montana. Salem, North Dakota. A trailer park in the north woods of Wisconsin. Ducks waking me on the Erie Canal in west central New York, Lord, knows so many dusty near-ghost towns in Kansas.
9,510 miles down, 490 miles to go to reach 10,000. Because I am not getting up at before dawn to ride to work, I am not acclimated to cold weather. The coming week with daytime highs in the 40s will test my resolve to get out and ride with layers on. Time to break out the wind pants, the holey wool sweater, and shoe coverings. It’s really not so bad once you warm up. Self delusion is my middle name.