If there has been a constant in my life (as far as outdoor pursuits), it has been that since the age of five, I have always had a bicycle. I have joked that my brothers taught me how to fishtail as The Way to Stop. Whether as a bicycle messenger in DC or jumping my Schwinn Stingray from ramp to ramp with a Kneivelesque wipeout, my bikes have always been game. Though it was on the bruising end and I tried subconsciously to destroy it, the infernal Iron Horse always came back for more punishment. Older and (hopefully) wiser, I now treat them as I do my shotgun: by keeping them in excellent operational condition knowing they are taking the brunt of the action, while I sit back and enjoy the ride, so to speak.
My bikes have changed over the years, as components have worn out, been replaced and I finally replace my faithful steed for a newer model. From the early 70’s Stingrays tricked out for BMX action and European 10 Speeds (Gitane and Motobecane) to the 80’s Japanese 12 Speed (Nishiki) and early Mountain bikes (Trek and Specialized), all have been excellent companions. It is funny that although I view a car and a bike as a tool and rail against the depreciation of a car as an unfortunate purchase byproduct, I never have thought as a bike in the same way. Granted, you cannot sell it once it is ridden “into the ground”, but it has provided physical and spiritual well-being that a car cannot. While I do use the cab of the Tacoma as my “think tank” for the 120 mile (roundtrip) commute each day, I find that the same time on my bike provides more productive deep thinking. I am the most efficient, when noodling through a problem, if I am multi-tasking. In college, I would bring a small voice recorder and dictate my term papers as I pedaled along the C&O Canal or on the Capital Crescent Trail near DC. As I engage my pedals, my mind engages in the mental task at hand.
Saying the Eastern Shore is flat is an understatement. I can stand on a beer can and see Scientist Cliffs across the Bay. While the mountain biker in me yearns for more vertically challenging terrain, the spider web of quiet, empty rural roads allow for exploration of the beautiful landscape. With the farm fields allowing unhindered airflow from the Bay, Choptank or other points on the compass, you will generally have a head or tailwind. With the extra morning light as we have now Sprung Forward, I have gone back to to ride in the morning. With a new bike and a new season of riding in front of me, I will need to keep a close eye out as I missed a deer by about six feet last November. Considering that the buck did not see me (or gore me) this might prove to be the ultimate portable blind. All that remains now is to ghillie my ride.
|Bike Blind (patent pending)|