|Pond, summer, desert, blazing sunshine|
As I hopped on the fixed-gear flatland commuter bike and began to wander eastward, I was struck with an impulse to ride a modified Tri-City Tour (Scottsdale, Tempe, Phoenix), concentrating on the multi-use paths and avoiding the streets. I think it was the heat of the day and the blazing sunshine working on my brain, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
|Flatland commuter fixed-gear pausing next to the art on the freeway wall down by Tempe Town Lake|
You can judge by the shadows directly beneath the bike that I was out at a challenging time of day in Phoenix in the summer. But I felt like riding, and needed the open air, sunshine, and exercise, so I just kept riding, and hydrating, and riding more.
|The water coming out of the drinking fountain was sadly hot.|
Since it was around mid-day, about halfway out, I started feeling hungry, really hungry, like looking around for a hotdog stand hungry. One did not present itself, however, so I broke open the emergency supply of sport beans (mixed flavors) and calmed my growling stomach with those.
|Egret in the shallows below the bridge and dam at Tempe Town Lake|
Usually I enjoy the heat, and sunshine, that we have in so much abundance here, but this year I haven't quite got my summer groove on yet. I've been applying more sunscreen this year, so maybe it's a twisted vitamin D thing or something, a biochemical reaction that in previous years has acclimated me to the heat and sun faster through more UV hitting my skin sooner. It still felt pretty good riding out there, don't get me wrong, but a good indicator is that I have been giving serious consideration to longer night rides to beat the heat, a consideration that doesn't usually kick in until later in the summer.
Miles from home, sitting in the shade next to my bicycle, munching the sport beans and staring out at the water, I was thinking, hurry up, sundown, we depend on ourselves. For what? To power our own way back home. To think clearly and react quickly, with equanimity. To treat one another kindly, with respect. To make the future we want.