A Sampling

*This is a small reflection on a bicycle journey I went on last month with one of my best friends. While this piece is short, I deem it a sampling because I am currently in the final stages of a memoir about a bicycle trip I took to Canada over spring break nearly two years ago. Any feedback I receive would be much appreciated!*

 

This last weekend I went on a bicycle trip to Independence, WI with my dear friend Ryan. It was a journey that had us riding 200 miles in the span of three days (thanks to SCSU for the academic break that made this possible). Ryan and I have been on many journeys before, including the Winnipeg trip that I have talked a little bit about in class. Our trip reaffirmed why I love riding so much. It is a chance to get away from everything and feel autonomous from the world.

Even though we were only gone for three days, it felt like a month. We began on Saturday and spent that night in my hometown, Osseo. Sunday had us going through Minneapolis and St. Paul for a good twenty-mile stretch. I didn’t realize it until that moment, but we were trying to ride through the middle of the Twin Cities Marathon. I almost ran over an older woman. “Oh geez” were the words she belted as I headed right for her. In fairness to us, we couldn’t ride on the road because of the runners, so we were relegated to going on the sidewalk. It actually was awesome because we were dodging people while multiple radio stations blared pop music to motivate the runners. It conjunctively motivated us.

We spent that night in Red Wing, arriving just before dark. The last day we headed for Ryan’s hometown. Going through Lake City was a battle because we constantly trudged up and down hills. The city itself was beautiful and riding along bodies of water the entire time under a gorgeous, sunny day made the experience even more captivating.

By the time we passed over the border into Wisconsin it was 2 P.M. and we still had forty miles left. We ate at a cheese factory in Nelson. Twenty miles later we stopped for a few drinks in Gilmanton, a small farming town. The bartender there was a nice guy, although his physical condition made performing his bartending duties difficult. By the time I asked for my third Twisted Tea I nearly vomited as I turned and saw his jeans couldn’t hide his rear end any longer as he bent over to reach into the cooler.

We left the bar somewhat buzzed and rode the last twenty miles to Ryan’s dad’s house in peace, laughing and reminiscing on so many of the good times we have shared. It was now cloudy outside, but the clouds brought a sense of comfort that also explains why I go out and do rides of this difficulty. Even if I hadn’t had a few drinks, I still would have had a buzz from the surreal joy I was experiencing for that last distance to our destination.

 

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