Tuesday, August 28, 2012

City Rides, Country Rides and Smiles

Have you been out riding over the summer?  Busy but still able to fit in a few of those really good rides you were hoping for?  Good.  No one wants to look back on summer and feel like none of the fun stuff ever got its due.

Some of us really get a kick out of the city rides.  Boulevards and cruising down quiet neighborhood streets.  Seeing families out walking, biking.  Smelling a charcoal grill and trying to locate the source.  Little kids waving to us and us waving back.  Smiles all around.

In the evenings the lines of street lamps are glowing guides, leading us alongside a river or through a long parkway.  People spinning Frisbees to the dark silhouettes of happy dogs racing to intercept them.  Trees lush with summer, growing over some of those lamps, creating interesting shadows across streets and lawns.

There's the smell of night.  Things cool down as the sun sets and the humidity increases ever so slightly.  Dew on your windscreen and seat, fog in the low lying areas and near waterways.  A familiar pungency. The first few hours of the evening bring out the bugs and they slap your helmet and windscreen as you ride.

Out in the country riding is best when the sun is still shining.  You can see for miles.  Your peripheral vision is as clear and bright as your focus.  Lakes far off in the distance beg you to find out which roads might take you to them.  Climbs and drop-offs become the tang to the taste of the ride.  Vast crop fields bow and wave to you in the breeze.  Golden stalks of wheat and tasseled corn, the deep green of soy and alfalfa.  Hardly a stop sign in sight, you just cruise along at comfortable speeds while new horizons open up to you with each new crest of a hill.

City and country rides.  They're certainly different.  If you live in a big enough city, just getting out of it could be a ride in itself to some folks.  Others are drawn to the downtowns and suburban motorways.   The choices and reasons for individual preferences are as diverse as we are.  So long as the places we ride evoke in us the smiles we're after, it really doesn't matter where we choose to ride.