There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label biking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label biking. Show all posts

04 April 2017

Mountain biking at Usery

In what seems to be a never ending quest to find new things to do here in Arizona, Usery Mountain Park fit the bill last weekend.

My mountain bikes have looked ever so sad just sitting in my garage, and so to alleviate this problem, I go to hit the gnarly trails at Usery.
Sweet single track sand trails interconnect through this part of the Sonoran desert. I rush past towering Cacti and flowering desert plants, small lizards hurriedly dart under bushes as my tires roll on by.
I'm not sure what wiped me out first; the increasing heat or my weak muscles but after two and a half hours, I was done until another day.
I foresee that another ride will be in my future soon though.

17 October 2015

biking around the ruins of Coba

The large and peaceful grounds of the ancient city of Coba awaits me. It is here that I am searching for a large pyramid that I can climb to it's peak and feel the Mayan spirit of old.

To do this, I decide to rent a bike and ride along the flat Yucatan roads among the symphony of the jungle.
It was quite the experience to quietly come to a clearing in the jungle and find the remains of a city that once held up to 100,000 people.
As I was riding around though, I started to notice that I was the only one at these sites. I found this strange, and started to wonder where the mighty pyramid was...
Tracking back, I find a fork in the road that I missed seeing initially. Sweaty but excited, I head down this new path. People and bicycles start to appear and the road becomes more populous.
Luck strikes me again, as I saw the sites of the mighty Coba first, but unknowingly saved the best for last.....

but that will be a story for another time.


06 October 2015

Trailside Park

The previous night's rain did little to damper my plans. I stretch and wolf down a little breakfast before assembling my bike for some early morning trail riding in Trailside Park.
The cool Fall air is perfect as I ride these hills. Although I don't bike anywhere near as often as I did, the world view from two wheels is still awesome.
Trailside opens up to some more technical dirt tracks that head up into the hills. Feeling adventurous, I deviate and work my way up the mountain. Mud flies and water spins in my spokes. 
I can only go for a couple of hours, as my energy and health isn't the same as it was in previous decades.

I won't let that stop me from doing what I love though.
Time...distance....none of that matters to me anymore. I just need to keep moving.

I need to keep breathing.
I need to enjoy the small joys of life, like mud speckled to my back from a day of biking in the hills of Park City.


20 September 2015

Soapstone

A mostly cloudless Fall day awaits those who slowly awaken this morning. I jump start my motor and head for the Uinta Mountains, ready to ride the fury of Soapstone basin.
Small groups of hunters gather around camper trailers, drinking morning coffee huddled next to a burning fire.

I dress in bright red to avoid an arrow or trigger happy bullet, and the pedals turn.
The inclines are deceptively steep, and my water supply is quickly drenched. My lungs scream to be ripped from my body cavity, and filleted upon the open ground. I cough and wheeze as the autumn leaves laugh.
I push past the pain, blackout the cries to stop, and let the momentum carry me upward. A lone red tail hawk soars and circles above me, it's tail shining brightly.

My beacon of safety is a sign from the Great Mother. I heed the message, climb the last hill, and look over the great Soapstone Basin.
Then with a fury of adrenaline, I fly down the backside of Mother Nature, whipping past the trees in a frenzy of untitled joy.

02 August 2015

Mexican Mountain

It's the morning golden hour in the San Rafael Swell, but I rise not to capture the sunrise, but to get my blood pumping, my heart racing, my juices flowing along the newly discovered Mexican Mountain trail.
Hues of purple melt into orange bands of fire along the tips of the mountain peaks. Hawks circle overhead for a morning meal as my pedals continue in their forward motion.
There is nothing quite like discovering a new trail, then having the scenery all to yourself in the peaceful hours of a San Rafael morning.

23 June 2015

The Idaho Falls biking trail

Idaho Falls has a great little biking trail that runs along the Snake River and downtown. On a near perfect Saturday, I dusted the cobwebs off my bike and cruised the trail from end to end.

I always prefer the way our world looks from a bike.
You won't find anything technically challenging or difficult here, only wide open spaces, endless blue skies, and the quiet only a small town on a lazy Saturday can provide.
The wind whips across my shirt, the sun burns my fair skin, the day finds my smile broadening with each turn of the pedals.
If only every day could be as glorious as the ones spent on a bike.

14 December 2014

Belle Isle

A Friday in September in the Motor City, and the three of us had no idea what to do. I wanted to head downtown, and so with no complaints from my brother or his wife, we hit the Interstate....

As the GM towers loomed before us, my first views of Detroit were not at all what I had envisioned, which further entrenched my notion about how our country's media can manipulate anything.

The Detroit river is a effervescent aqua blue, shimmering under the Ambassador bridge that connects Detroit to Windsor, Canada.

We decide to park at the riverfront and start our exploration. Any trepidation of being unsafe quickly vanishes under the glorious September sun. We find a local outfit that rents bikes to ride along the riverfront. We decide to upgrade to the sleek black Detroit City bikes, then ask which way we should go.

"If you have a few hours, I'd recommend Belle Isle."
Picture courtesy of visitdetroit.net

We thanked him, and happily started biking along the river. After a few minutes, we had to venture off the river trail and go through what appeared to be an industrial section of town. The sound of construction machinery hard at work was ringing in my ears as I took in the colorful graffiti on the buildings.



The bridge to Belle Isle is before me. I stop to wait for the others to catch up, letting my own muscles rest for a moment. It's been far too long since I've rode a bike.
The park itself is full of grand views of downtown Detroit and Windsor, historic buildings scattered throughout the island, and plenty of bike trails through thickly wooded forests.


It's Detroit like I never imagined, positively upbeat and full of beauty.



*****

19 May 2014

the world from two wheels

I'm no different, the day to day life wears me down. Things I once enjoyed get forgotten, replaced by tasks that seemed more important at the time.

Life is cyclic though, and in its revolution, I am reminded to once again do what I love.
The open road was calling my name, the fresh spring air intoxicating. I love how the world looks from two wheels.


01 June 2012

meet Stanley Park & Jack White

I was twenty feet from the door to exit international customs when I handed my declaration card to the cute woman of Indian descent. My warm smile waned though as my eyes felt her coldness pierce me, and the interrogation started.
"Why are you coming here for just one day?"
She is unsatisfied with my response. I sense she feels as though I'm lying to her. This feeling is justified with the next round of questions.
"All you have is your backpack?" "What if I bring over the dogs and other agents? " Will they find marijuana?"
I hate cops. Add customs agents now to that list.
"When was the last time you did drugs?"
Bitch, are you kidding me? I felt completely stereo-typed, being judged on my appearance and reason for being there alone. It was horrible, but I kept my composure and started to slide my backpack off my shoulders for her to search. I figured the white gloves would come next.....
"Put your pack on. You can go..."
The air outside was fresh and inviting in Vancouver B.C., but the sour taste in my mouth would take time to dissipate.
*****
As I start walking the city, I find this poem etched in glass outside a restaurant :

The Waking
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the ground! I shall walk softly there,
and learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a lonely stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where you go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What fall away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
-Theodore Roethke
I've never been to city that has so many of their building all in glass. With the beautiful views from every direction though, you can see why. Wandering aimlessly around, I find a bike shop renting by the hour. The exercise is just what I need to clear my head and put me in a better mood. Stanley Park has vistas and trails that smooth my temperament.

I encircle the park, then head to the dirt trails of the interior. One can easily forget you are in a metropolis. Signs of coyote warning hikers and bikers alike, but all I see are more of Canada's strange black squirrels.

Some time later, I emerge to find a hidden lake. I rest on a park bench, soaking up the afternoon sun. Ducks of various types and a curious goose keep me company.
Exhausted, I head to get some rest before the show later in the evening.
*****














The Queen Elizabeth Theatre is the perfect venue to see Jack White. Ever since I heard the White Stripes in 2003, driving through the lonely and barren Northern Arizona landscape, the music has been a constant staple. When they broke up last year, I thought the opportunity to see them was lost. But with his new solo album came a tour, and although it was in another country and it broke the piggy bank to go, the night was completely worth it. Jack wailed and shredded guitar riffs with ease. His band consisted of six women, all holding their own degree of sexiness and musical genius. Amazing.

11 September 2011

no pressure in Acadia

 The stress of life was building, the pressure mounting inside, ready to explode. I needed to get away, outside, and be free.
So I headed to New England for the Labor day weekend, and it turned out to be the perfect place to unwind.
I arrive in Southwest harbor mid Saturday morning, to quiet streets lined with kitschy Mom and Pop shops. I find a little place to get a bite to eat, filled with so many antiques to keep my mind busy until the food arrives.
After lunch, I find a hike to Beech mountain. The lush greenery captivates me.



I make it to the top of the mountain, and get my first glimpse of the whole area from above. Islands of green in a sea of blue dotted with fishing boats.
It's time for me to check in. I decided to stay in a New England Bed & Breakfast, the Harbour Cottage Inn. Built in the 1800's, the classic style and charm are just what one needs to relax.


With mile after endless mile of old carriage roads that wind through the entire of Acadia National Park, I quickly rent a bike from SouthWest Cycles and hit the trail. I ride for hours, conquering hill after hill.



 I make it to the top of Acadia's highest point, Cadillac Mountain, to see the sun set over the harbours. I sit at Sands beach, watching reeds slowly bend in the soft wind, families playing in the water, enjoying the day. I stand on rocks at the shoreline, and get soaked with the incoming tide.


I have found a place that allows the soul to meet the body, and I'm under pressure no more, at least for a little while.

16 July 2011

biking on backcountry farm roads

A brook babbles it's insane laughter.
The summer sun drenches my body in sweat, I glance over fields filled with tall alfalfa grass, swaying gently in the wind.
My mind goes back to the tall grasses of Kenya, where big cats hunt for their prey.
Here horses slowly swing their tails in synchronicity, like a metronome.
Cows chew their cud lazily.
Asphalt turns to gravel, then to dirt upon which I turn the pedals clockwise, propelling me towards empty space.
Abandoned cottages, barns in bright red, faded blue, a dark green. I see them in the clarity of a black and white photograph.
Solitude.
I come to a monastery, and revel in the serenity of the moment, biking on back country farm roads.