Monday, April 29, 2013

A Perfect Ride

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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."
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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?)

She climbs onto one of the pilings and gazes downriver. "Look how the water sparkles!"


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:



A few miles on, we approach a long fence, the posts of which are adorned with birdhouses. Tallulah (obviously still wide awake) is fascinated by the birdhouses and asks if we may stop for a closer look. She peeks in at the door of this one...


...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.

Shadow shot:


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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24 comments:

  1. Shorts! It's been a couple of years since I felt it was warm enough for me to don shorts for a cycle. Perhaps we'll have a warm summer this year...
    My last ride I managed without gloves on though.

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    1. It must be warming up a bit then.... :)

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  2. I hate if people stare but don't wink. Blue sky is very scarce here. I'm not envious ... ;-)

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    1. Of course not. :)

      I will wish very hard for some blue skies over Switzerland....

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  3. -chuckle- White legs spotted, from space. -gigggles-

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    1. It's the contrast with those black cycling shorts! :)

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  4. A teenage crocheted turtle who cycles, who could ask for a more entertaining cycling companion Mrs. M! I love all the barns you photograph, they are beautiful, especially the ones with some red. Well done for the great 30 miles, I've been cycling too but my goodness I am fed up with the wind stopping me from going further, such a battle cycling into chilling winds! Looks like we are due to have our warmest week this year so I'm looking forward to soaking up some rays too xxx Penny

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    1. It's been terribly windy here too, so this ride was like a bit of Heaven on earth! Hope you have a nice sunny week. :)

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  5. Bravo! Great ride...Great photos...Great story [including the flashing opener :-)] The wild cherry blossoms have nearly all fluttered off our huge wild cherry tree leaving new green leaves behind and it may get up to 80 degrees by the end of the week if the weather folk are right.
    Wishing you a happy week, Sue,
    xx from Gracie

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    1. Thanks Gracie - we have a forecast high of 83º for Tuesday. That will be bizarre....

      A happy week to you too! :)

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  6. I chuckled so hard at your flashing! We had our second shorts ride of the year over the weekend, and now I'm not glow in the dark white. I'm glow in the dark red! (Yes, I used sunscreen, but I must have sweat it off.)

    I'm so glad you and Tallulah are getting out there, regardless of the weather. I'm thinking I might have to fashion a cargo carry seat for her so she can ride on your handlebars and see the sites!

    It's so warm here today, it's a crime to be at work instead of out enjoying the weather, and then more snow on Wednesday...

    Ugh. Is it ever going to end?!?

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    1. Vicki (Stitchy McFloss) had a similar idea - about a basket for Tallulah. I'm revolving the idea in my mind - the only downside is that she'd probably catch a lot of bugs and road dirt. We'll see what we can come up with. I am determined at any rate that she shall get some handlebar action during Bike MS!

      I got a bit of sunburn yesterday too - not from cycling but from sitting outdoors crocheting with the sun on the back of my neck. It felt SO GOOD! :)

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  7. GOod job. 243 miles already is amazing to me!!!
    I love the images you take.
    im glad your turtle buddy is safely home. He is so small! im glad you showed him in your hands for perspective.

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    1. Thanks Kathy - though honestly it doesn't seem like anywhere near enough mileage. But compared with where I was last year at this time (or any other year) it's pretty decent. I've been a rather wimpy rider in the past. We'll see if I can do better. :)

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  8. Love the photos. I am blown away by how many miles you've been this year. Wow.

    Love that little Miss T got out and about, too. So cute.

    Blessings always dear friend.

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    1. Thanks Vicki ... I hope the miles keep adding up as I'm starting to feel they're awfully skimpy! (Compared to serious cyclists at least.)

      Miss T is beginning to develop a personality of her own. It will be interesting to see where it goes.... :)

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  9. Tallulah the teenage crochet turtle ... does she leave her laundry on the floor and struggle to get out of bed in the mornings ... if so, yes she is ;)

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    1. Oh dear - by those criteria I am practically a teenager too.... (Though come to think of it I don't leave my laundry on the floor. Whew!)

      Tallulah seems to be pretty tidy so far. :)

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  10. White legs...that is what mine always look like. A person needs sunglasses. LOL.
    I enjoyed the scenery with you and Tallulah. I know I would like a bike ride without the work. ;)

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  11. It was exceptionally bright in Washington on this day. Could the reflection have travelled that far? Hmmmm.... I do think we need a shadow shot of Tallulah.

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    1. I did think of that (a turtle shadow shot), very late in the ride, when I just wanted to get home. We'll have to work on it next time around....

      And thanks for sharing your bright weather! :)

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  12. Your tiny turtle is too cute! Loved seeing your journey together ;-)

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    1. Thanks, K! It's always so nice to hear from you. :)

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