Sunday, January 24, 2016

What Are Kids Riding These Days?

Choppers! Tassels! Two drinks at a time!

For a long time, it seemed like every Sunday I would ride the same route along the Arizona canal. I think I even called it my default route for a few years. It seemed almost unconscious, the thing to do on Sunday afternoon, point the bike down the canal path and start riding.

But time marches on. My attention wandered from the default route, and after several months, I kind of forgot about that habit, tending more toward the Tri-city tour, or a quick but somewhat strenuous spin a little closer to home for short workouts that still qualifies as exercise.

Today, though, I thought, go check out the old default route, see what's going on in those parts. So on a quite pleasant day when I suspect the vast majority of my fellow city dwellers were huddled up in the TV room waiting for the Big Game to start, I filled up the water bottle and let my feet do the work.

It's dry-up time in the canals...

It's dry-up time in the canals, that mid-winter month or two when SRP drains sections at a time to fix them up, and pull out all the stuff that's been thrown into them. For some reason, the canal seems to attract shopping carts. Sure, there's always random stuff down there, but shopping cars are consistent.

The Salt River lives up to its name, depositing salt on anything that spends a season in its flow

Sections of the trail get closed off for maintenance, but usually they leave the opposite bank open and it all works out. Just as I was feeling a bit down by all the junk that humans wantonly toss into the water, I saw that the cormorants were making the best of it.

I waited to see if the wheel turned to give him a 360 view, but no.

Hey guys, check out that rad chopper bicycle

Even though it's been months since I've ridden the default route, it's like I have muscle memory of it. The patterns of the pavement, the turns and underpasses, the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of the area soaked into my neurons long ago, and they awake when I pedal through this space. There's one stretch where the muscle memory pushes me to pedal hard until my muscles burn. It's about feeling alive, about remembering my Dad and somehow honoring his memory by exerting myself, something like that. It goes from a specific starting place to a specific end, and my heart responded to it like that's where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do this afternoon.

Bicycle people often wave, and smile, and say hello, much more than car people. It must be something in the muscles, something about riding in the sunshine, that makes us warm to simple connection. Hello!