Ever want to just get away? Fortunately my bicycle has been taking me away for 25 years, since I used to sneak off on my BMX to explore bordering neighborhoods. Some people do this with long walks, movies, spas, alcohol, etc, but for me nothing is as effective as a change in environmental space via pedal strokes and rubber on pavement.
This past weekend I tried to organize a big hike that never panned out. Santa Barbara help had already been sorted with an ex-Angeleno , so I figured, why not ride? I rolled out of Los Angeles about 630pm through the misery of Westwood to the glory of the beach. Bumper to bumper traffic on PCH so I was splitting lanes as the sun was going down and the cool breeze was rolling in. What better ‘away’ could there be? It’s not a physical endeavor as much as a spiritual retreat, sometimes. Near McGrath State Beach I stopped to listen to the frogs and along a closed-to-cars road that parallels the 101 I turned off my lights to ride under the stars.
Rode some of the Grand Tour route and the Lonely Planet west coast cycling route, both in reverse. The quiet, rolling hills between Ventura and Santa Barbara at 1230/1am was just the physical space to open up and clear some mental space. Felt fortunate to be healthy and have the time for such an adventure. Rolled up to Stacy’s place (in the hills!) after about 105 miles at 130am. After waking her up we defrosted some brown rice and chickpea patties before I showered and slept for a few hours.
Pedaled away from a coffee shop with 2 bottles of water in my pack, 1 water and 1 Sustained Energy on the bike, some bananas, a clif bar and dried cranberries (and well-caffeinated), with some tail wind, and made it back to LA in 5.5 hours. Riding hard on little sleep is a different type of spiritual experience altogether. Somehow physical exertion combined with mild discomfort and lack of sleep helps me focus? Anyone else experience this?