WI--Scientists were mystified Sunday by satellite images of what appeared to be a rhythmic flashing light emanating from a rural area of Wisconsin. With the help of the satellites' powerful zoom capabilities, the bursts of light were traced to an unlikely source: a lone cyclist.
Analysts determined that the strange flashes were in fact caused by the sun reflecting off the cyclist's legs as she pedalled.
"Wisconsin enjoyed some pretty nice weather this weekend," said Barry Shimano of the National Climate Association. "I'm sure a lot of cyclists, including this one, were riding in shorts for the first time this year. She probably had no idea how bright those legs can look from space. Let's hope she eventually acquires a tan."~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It's a lovely Sunday on the cusp of May. All the ingredients seem to be present for a perfect ride: warm sun, pleasant breeze, blue sky, singing birds, green grass, rolling hills, scenic barns, budding trees, rippling water, new shorts....
Iris and I (with Tallulah of course) set out at 4 pm to catch the day at its warmest and most idyllic. Gone are the restrictive tights and jacket - it's 70º out (!) and we are blissful and carefree in jersey and shorts.
We pass a favourite line of trees on the road just south of town, and note with satisfaction a certain cloudiness in their outline, delightfully suggestive of budding leaves:
We pass the first of many appealing barns:
A few miles on, we cross paths with two cyclists. One turns his head and stares at Iris (whether in shock or admiration I cannot say - but perhaps he is a connoisseur of vintage bikes). I wave; they don't. Oh well.
Today's route follows some new-to-us roads which wind through lovely rolling farm country towards the Wisconsin River. So lost are we in the sheer pleasure of sun, breeze, and freedom of movement, we barely remember to take photos.
A very handsome farm appears across a valley:
The closer we get to the river, the hillier the terrain becomes. Our road turns north, winds up and down and around a sharp slope or two - and before we know it, we've reached our stopping point. We park the bike and walk over to a small pier for some river photos.
Running about on the rocks to our right are five friendly robins who seem to be trying to get our attention.
They hop closer and dart meaningful glances our way - are they expecting a snack? (Perhaps they've been fed in the past by humans from the restaurant just behind us.) I can't feed them, so I take their photos instead.
Tallulah, meanwhile, is itching for a closer look at the river. She crawls towards the end of the pier while I watch with anxious eyes.
"Ooh, it's deep," she says. "And dark." (Please don't fall in, I'm thinking. What would I say to Snowcatcher if you got washed away?)
Then (to my secret relief) she crawls back into my hand. We turn to look upriver:
Tallulah's sharp eyes spot some bright bits of red on the bank - a few berries left over from last year. "Those look good. Can we take some with us?" she asks. "Better not," I say. "I'm afraid they'd get squashed in my pocket. But I'll make you a salad when we get home." (She sighs at this but I pretend not to notice.)
We walk back to the bike, where Tallulah sits on the handlebar stem while I take few more sips of water.
"Why can't I ride up here?" she wants to know. "Because the wind would push you right off," is my answer. She sighs again (rather pointedly this time, as a turtle whose every wish seems to be thwarted). "I may as well take a nap, then. I'll be in my shell if you need me," she says as she climbs back into my pocket. "Pleasant dreams," I reply.
(I don't know Tallulah's precise age, but I begin to wonder if she's a teenager. A Teenage Crochet Cycling Turtle....)
We turn for home, the sun and wind at our backs.
Birches everywhere are sporting ghostly grey catkins:
...but no one is home.
"One advantage of carrying my house with me," she remarks, "is that I'm always at home when people drop by." (Do I detect a soupçon of smugness in her tone? Surely not.)
We refresh ourselves with a short rooftop photo shoot...
...then it's back to the bike for both of us.
We pass again the lovely barn we passed on the way out. I try not to repeat barn photos, but I'm very fond of this one:
Some favourite trees (one of which also appeared in last week's post):
And a final shot of an empty corn crib, looking rather like a rustic (or rusty) gazebo:
We reach home, tired and happy with our afternoon's ride, as nearly perfect as a spring ride could be.
Only one thing is lacking: we still haven't seen any leaves. We lean Iris against the front steps and walk across the yard to the lilac bush, hoping against hope....
And there they are. Baby leaves!
Now the ride is complete. Definitely the best ride of the year (so far).
Today's mileage: 30.3
Miles this year: 234.3
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