Those next days headed toward Sjeverni National Park, startlingly dry, a concrete impacted heat, leaves us heaving into noons. Well above the sea and the E65, we don’t see anyone for twenty hours. As if we’re pedaling against a static painting, pebbly grit, haze chalk green.
Pinball bounding bouncing rock to rock and from the edge of your vision you can see see where the stone fences have collapsed to haphazard return to the track. Snapping twigs and leaf shush, our arms raked by thorns. Heat concentrated into a clearing, dive past the perimeter again.
The identity of this place is that it is nowhere, towns that we will inertia through when we need to, but the network of agricultural tracks horizons into midmorning heat and we don’t have to intersect anything else.
In the thick experience of movement and days, in the backroads dust and the chest pressing heat, in the hundred laughter cheek kiss embrace conversations we have, it’s there that the void gets filled, making me ride grinning at how close it was.
For a month riding has been wholly slow and just to be outside, an excuse for a long talk like a long walk where the bicycles fade, where we’re made into rolling with our joys and sadnesses.
Unmistakably Italy, the hilltops in every distance with a villa, spruce lined approaches, groves.
Pedal along bike paths, quiet rural roads, in betweens and local knowledge throughs, river bridges hidden parks first the Minneapolis then the Saint Paul skylines crouching behind the trees.
If you’re in the Minneapolis area, we invite you to join us from 6:30 – 9:00 pm at Angry Catfish on Friday, March 20th, for an evening of bicycle travel presentations and live music!
An ascent is somewhere between a denial and craving for it.
This time of the year New England says something of itself. It’s the landscape and the cultural history that it encouraged that are the boundaries and beacons of the circuit.
Levitating atop the smallest gear, clingy traction, absorption into modal blue. Mean little sheep feet have obscured any tracks from the racers ahead but sure as sure that this is the way.
Jacques explains. “Location” indicates the black townships, we’ve been directed here by that very word on the lips of a nodding woman on the dirt avenue, I’m looking to buy a local SIM card. One story high, corrugated steel, off-rectilinear lots that expand or contract to the hilly contour but somehow still seem tidy, colors sing cheer and that they’re brightly painted itself enough to distinguish the boundaries.
Students in smart uniforms, a loud beer hall, turning buses and impossibly clean commuter rail station. Then lands of hard wind blown blonde grasses with season burn smoke columns, onward to canyons rolling granite and green, serpentine roads. To a vast park. No bicycles, a shame, they’ll wait.
There’s Nelson Mandela’s house and then Desmond Tutu’s around the corner, a neighborhood density of Nobel Peace laureates unrivaled. We drink local brew, 2% alcohol so leaving us liters away from danger but very near to jolly, a man stops his car to thank us for visiting, older women waking home all in green from a religious service beaming hellos.
Boys break dancing in the square. Kid asks me where I am from. I tell him USA, New York City, he says, concentrated earnest, “so you have a pistol?” Deflated when I tell him I don’t.