Bicycle Time Travel

trail ridingThis weekend was bright and sunny, a weird contrast to the severe storm the East coast experienced. It was also cold; Saturday and Sunday morning both began with subzero temperatures.

I was a bit unnerved by the fact that the last time we had subzero weather my freehub decided to give out on me. Doug from Four Season Cycling had assured me that nothing was wrong with the freehub, it just needed new, more suitable grease. With guidance from my dad and this video, I had flushed the old grease out and regreased the hub, hoping that my problem was solved.

Everything ran smoothly on my commute Saturday morning  with the temperature at -4. When I woke up Sunday morning it was -9 outside. Usually I just ride straight to church, which is just a mile up the road, but I wanted to test my bike out to make sure everything was working properly. So I left my house before sunrise to ride in the coldest temperatures possible. I didn’t do this to have fun, I was on a serious ride to test out my bicycle, I don’t think I even cracked a smile…

…Well, until I found a trail to ride through the woods.

The bike worked perfectly in the cold which made the trail even more fun to ride. Once I was back on the road, I saw an Amish buggy turning onto the same country lane that led to my church. Without hesitation, I turned onto the road behind it, but as I was doing so, I saw another Amish buggy turning behind me.

The next few seconds were comical as Amish folks seemed to pop up in every direction.

There were buggies coming from the right.
And the left.
There were groups of Amish ladies walking on the road dressed in black capes.
And also groups of boys and girls.

I found myself smack dab in the middle of the Amish community as they made their way to a family’s home for church!

For a few minutes, I felt like I had been transported back in time to early colonial America. Then we (meaning the procession of Amish folks and a lone cyclist) came to the farmhouse where the service was quite obviously being held.

The barnyard was full of Amish men who bustling about, talking and getting their horses situated. Well, they had been bustling about, but when they saw me, everything slowed to a halt.

With a bright colored jacket and blinking red lights, I supposed I stood out from the somber, dark tones of their community.

Suddenly, I felt like I was intruding on something very private. I did the only thing I could do, I waved awkwardly and gave a faint, “Hello”. Several of the men gave a jolly wave in return, which smoothed things over a bit, although I did see an elderly man with gray whiskers and twinkling eyes looking at me and laughing quite heartily.

My Pastor laughed quite loudly as well when I recounted my tale. I guess some test rides aren’t destined to be serious.

church

This church is the prettiest one in town, which explains why I took pictures of it during sunrise and not my own church….

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Time for an adventure.

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Look at the pumpkins! Fall actually is here!

Lately, a slight ache has been tugging at heart. I am on my bike every day but it isn’t quite enough. When go for a ride in the morning, by the end of the day it feels like a huge chunk of time has passed since my bike and I have been out on the road. But if I postpone my ride until later in the day-I have problems with the “you should be out pedaling” nudge.

The time I do spend biking is great but inevitably I have to turn back and go home. I love my home, I love my local area, but I want to explore a bit more and push myself a little farther.

Rend Collective, one of my favorite bands, is playing in Rochester next week. I think it the perfect opportunity for my first ever overnight bike trip. It is a 160 mile trip one way so my plan is to bike down Tuesday and Wednesday (the concert is Wednesday night). Then, I will  spend the night in Rochester and bike back as far as I can on Thursday. I work early Friday morning so I will call someone to pick me up once I am done biking on Thursday.

My emotions about the upcoming trip are a volatile mix of excitement and raw nerves. Mostly, I am afraid of getting lost or having my bike or body break down. With every little weird pain I feel or every strange sound I hear while biking, I get jittery and wonder if I can actually make it to Rochester. This is new territory and I don’t know how the trip will go. What if something happens? But then I straighten my thinking out and my excitement returns.

My bike and I get to spend three days discovering new roads together. Watch out world!