This blog was started and is very much dedicated to cycling. I encourage everyone I know to grab a bike and get out there. The exercise, the fresh air, the wind in your hair, and the things you can see make it a fantastic hobby. Young or old. In fact, one blogger I know shared his definition of elderly: It’s when you stop riding your bikes. Yep there are a many MANY reasons cycling is excellent….
However, today, reading the post I reprinted from my buddy Jim about the stars, I realized there is a downside….
Jim talked about taking time to look at the sky and take in the stars, and beauty of the heavens above us. It actually started me thinking, and I honestly can not remember the last time I even saw the stars! Hell, even the moon! Now part of that is the time of year. Around here, it doesn’t get dark till almost 10 PM, and it starts getting light about 5-ish. I’m in bed…. But even before it started staying light longer, I can’t remember the last time I was outside looking for satellites, falling stars, the big dipper, etc.
Then I started thinking about other things I haven’t done in a while. When I was a hiker, I loved to hang out at lakes.
I would get there, find a place to sit either in the sun or in the shade, depending on the time of year, and break out a book and read. I would read some, watch fish jump, swallows skim for bugs, and occasionally toss a rock into the water for the fun of it.
Or at a river. I liked to stop on bridges and watch the water flow under me. The faster the better.
I’ve never out grown the tossing of a piece of wood into a river. It instantly becomes a boat, trying to stay a afloat in big water. Trying to watch it as far as possible, and hoping it doesn’t get stuck on a rock. That plus just the sound of running water, just captivating. Or if the river is wide enough, skipping rocks. I used to skip rocks for hours, walking, gathering a bunch, skipping them, then moseying some more. No idea when the last time I skipped a rock was.
Sitting on top of a mountain, just looking at the 360 degree view. Sitting and eating lunch, taking pictures, or just watching the birds fly above and often below my level. Nothing is more satisfying than a long hike, knowing the rest is downhill, and there is no hurry to get there.
Sitting in the lodge at Mt Rainier, seeing the mountain, drinking coffee or tea for an hour…. You don’t even have to be a guest, anyone can be sit in the lobby…
Even the ocean, now Michelle and I did sit in our room and watch the waves and saw whales right off our deck. It wasn’t enough time though. I love the ocean, and one thing I have never done, but dearly want to, is to go to the ocean when a big storm is coming in. Watching crashing waves would be amazing. Not to mention the sounds, sprays and smells.
So why am I saying that all this is part of cycling’s downside? Well for me, when biking, it’s about the miles. I really like to see how fast I can get from here to yonder. Now I am going slow enough to look around, but the only stops are for a quick picture of something cool, or for food/drink refills. Hell, sometimes I am eating while pedaling. I am either training for a big ride, or on one. There is very little leisure. Luckily for me, I do get to sit and relax with Michelle in our comfy red chairs. but watching the cats really doesn’t qualify as nature.
I enjoy it though. I truly have a good time. I like cranking out 100 miles in a day. Or pushing it hard on the ride home from work. Doing a fast 40 or 50 on a Saturday so I can get home for errands or chores.
But there are some things about not being a hiker any more that I miss. Not this year, but maybe next I will fulfill a bucket list and climb a mountain at dusk and spend the night watching a meteor shower. This winter, maybe Michelle and I can get to the Oregon coast for a storm. And after my last big ride, it might be time to climb to the top of a mountain and sit for a while.
So the downside of cycling, which seems ironic to say since the whole time you are biking you are sitting on your ass, but the downside is just not enough “ass-time” enjoying what is around you….