Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Short Road, Long(ish) Ride

How was your weekend? Ours was so filled with social engagements that riding was nearly crowded out. But with only 2 weeks until Bike MS*, and not nearly enough miles under my belt, I knew I had to squeeze in a longer ride than any yet taken this year. But I was very reluctant to go far from home; distance somehow accentuates the intermittent panic I've been fighting for weeks.

A bright idea: why not ride up and down the road just outside town? A short, curving road, with enough rises and falls to keep it from being boring - 9 trips up and back would give me just over 40 miles (my goal for the ride), yet I would never be more than 3 miles from home. It was worth a try.

*Speaking of Bike MS, it's never too late to donate! Click the "Bike MS" button in the sidebar if you'd like to give. Every donation goes straight to help people with MS.


A late Sunday afternoon, hot and windy. I've never before taken a ride at once so short and so long; I wonder how I will keep track of the "laps". A photo a lap seems like a good idea. I can keep it down to 9 photos, right? (Here the blogger emits a wild, mocking "ha ha".)

Lap 1: Lovely clouds over a sloping cornfield:

The corn is coming up well after a very late start to the growing season. I like the rows stretching away in persepective towards the green bank of trees.

Lap 2: Sunlight on pines:

My road includes a long stretch of these well-grown pines that spice the air as they sigh in the warm wind.

Lap 3: Turtle in the road.

Tallulah and I worry about the turtle all the way to the end of Lap 3, through our turn, and back to the spot where we first saw it. This road gets a steady stream of traffic; we're afraid we may find only bits of shell on the next pass. To our relief, the road is clear when we return; the turtle has made it safely across. (On the next lap we notice a depression in the sandy verge nearby; the turtle must have been laying eggs.)

Lap 4: We stop for a break, and admire the branching arms of a telephone pole across the way:

Lap 5: Shadow shot!

Still Lap 5 (the one-photo-per-lap has broken down already): An empty barn and silo stand at the far end of our road, with more dramatic clouds on the horizon behind:

Lap 6: An enticing bit of gatepost, twined with baling wire:

And just next to it, an even more enticing grassy drive beneath arching trees:

(A "For Sale" sign stands at the entrance to this drive. Do I want to see what lies beyond the curve? No - it's more fun to imagine it.)

Lap 7: We take a short break on a shady side-road where the verges are carpeted with fluffy tree seeds:

While shooting the fluffy seeds I am swarmed by mosquitoes, so it's back on the bike and up the road to take the rest of our break in a sunnier, windier, skeeter-less spot.

Tallulah stays in her basket while I eat my banana and admire the upside-down leaves on the maples across the way.

We wave at a passing dog and his man, but forbear to photograph them. The dog, who is black and comely (though with one white leg), shows great interest in making our acquaintance, but the man prefers to keep walking. They pass from view. I swig a bit of orange juice, and we resume our ride.

Lap 8: I neglect to take any photos.

Lap 9: Almost done! Just a few miles to go, and we're feeling pretty good. In just 2 weeks we'll have a new sticker here - one that reads "Bike MS 2014":

(On a side note - I'm really much pudgier than this shot makes me look. The seeming svelteness must have something to do with perspective. Perhaps I should take all my selfies while riding....)


A surprisingly good long(ish) ride on a rather short road. I felt safe the whole time (woo hoo!), and though I rode the same few miles over and over, it never once got boring. Eyes that look for beauty in the small and in the everyday will always find something to admire. :)

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P.S. Lest you think this has turned into a cycling-only blog, rest assured that I haven't stopped crocheting. Later this week I'll post a free pattern for some pretty curtain ties....

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  1. Enjoyed your 9 laps and photos. Happy bike training! Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  2. Looks like you had a beautiful day for your ride!

    Love the curtain tie. :-)

  3. Replies
    1. That is her replacement cycling helmet - she lost the original on a fast descent at last year's Bike MS. I hope this one stays on better! :)

  4. Hey that was great exercise, I feel better already Sue!
    I understand your trepidation about getting out on the open road and too far from home after your recent experiences and think what you did today was a great idea - probably boosted your confidence a bit too? Thanks for the great shots and a look at Tullulah, she does enjoy getting out and about doesn't she! Take care, Joyxo

  5. So much to see, close to home, safety in numbers (up & back trips). Great idea! Love it!

  6. I love your new header, Sue. You see some lovely scenery when out cycling. I shall look forward to seeing your pretty curtain ties!

  7. Oh how I adore it when the pines sigh in the wind! :)

  8. Your turtle didn't have a long dinosaur tail like the turtles I sometimes encounter this time of year along the bike path... I like the idea of counting laps by photographing laps, but I would fall to the very same temptation you did. I can never shoot just one!!!

    Congrats on an awesome training ride, and I'll see you next week!

  9. shadow shot is awesome!
    love your curtain ties

  10. I just returned from Colorado. I thought of you and your ride often! Crazy hills there full of crazy cyclists. But, ah--the air is cool and light. Good luck!

  11. Thanks for sharing your lovely ride with us, Sue. I especially loved seeing the turtle as I have not seen one in the wild in many years. On the west bank of the Hudson River where we lived for 15 years, several mother snapping turtles, each about a foot wide would trudge up the slope from the river to our sunny backyard on June 12th to lay their eggs. It was a rite I loved to witness.

    The curtain ties are lovely!

    Cheering you on with your training, and pattern submissions-sales, xx

  12. Go you!

    I am so sorry you are still struggling with the emotional effects of your accident. After a mega RTA while a passenger in a teacher's car as a teen my eldest could not face learning to drive himself for some time, so I do understand. He was helped considerably by acupuncture, I wonder if that would be useful to you Sue x

  13. Love that shadow shot of yourself! Put that on your fridge and it might make you eat more! HA!
    I will put your BIKE MS on my blog, like I did last year! Sorry, I have been a bit out of it lately and not able to visit my blogging buddies lately.
    Also, if you see a turtle crossing the road, you can always pick the turtle up and carry him across. Just make sure to take him in the direction he is going, otherwise, he will turn right around! (Only do so if it is safe, of course!)

  14. I am happy that you were able to train and still feel safe. I can't imagine riding that far. ugh I am so out of shape. Of course there is no place to ride around here that isn't full of cars.
    My computer is giving me fits so I am not sure that I can get the link for donations. If not, is there another way I can donate? Ride safe

  15. Hello Sue, I have no idea how you ride your bike so very far. I always enjoy seeing your photos. Hugs Judy.

  16. Sue, I love these curtain ties, very clever. I am making your Olive Twist shawl and I love the pattern. I was on a trip to North Carolina and started it while I was there even though I have two knitting projects going right now. When I finally got the magazine I saw how beautiful it was and packed my yarn and hook. You made a beauty.


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