Though I always ride alone, one constant when I ride is that I’m never really alone. I have friends, copilots, and conspirators who ride along with me, if only in my mind. They just pop in and out of my psyche while I ride, as my thoughts and mood weave ideas, new and old.
Depending on what I’m looking at and what I’m thinking about as I pedal, I have different conversations with different people. There is always some combination of friends, family members, associates, and even some whom I have never met, but have admired.
During an average ride, I might converse with as many as a half-dozen different people. I confess that some folks show up more than others, but if I’ve been connected with someone for any length of time, either in person or via social media, there’s a good chance that person has appeared beside me on one or more of my rides and been an unwitting participant in these conversations in my head.
There are times when I ride with people I’ve never met. Roberto Clemente, Steve Earle, Colin Powell, Robert Wright, and James McMurtry have all ridden with me at one time or another — and many more like them. And yes, Donald Trump has even been on a ride or two with me, but his presence is always forced, and the result of his own permeating bad behavior.
My copilots aren’t just in my head. They are always on bicycles, and right beside me traveling at the same speed, no faster or slower. My imagination paces us side-by-side so perfectly that it’s easy to converse. It’s as though we are always at identical fitness levels.
We chat. We laugh. I listen. They speak. I speak. They listen. We learn more about each other as we ride. Sometimes we talk of what we already know, while others times we talk of what should or could be — what we might want for the future.
We talk about art. We talk about how we can save the world. We always talk about how things can be improved. Occasionally, we tell jokes and might even sing.
Paul Weller and I sing quite well together.
The only time I take a leadership role during our rides is in explaining what’s ahead on the routes we are riding. You see, we may be riding side-by-side, but this is my turf, so I have to explain the how to prepare for every obstacle. It might go something like this…
– This is going to be a steep hill…
– Might get a little bit curvy up ahead…
– Going to need to do a little shifting just past that tree…
– Hit it just right, and we could reach 50-mph going down this slope…
Things like that.
There may be gaps when we don’t speak to each other at all — when just enjoy the scenery, occasionally looking over to one another and silently acknowledging what beautiful surroundings these are or the thrill of breaking the 50 mph barrier.
We don’t talk about politics too much when we ride, but when we do we are sure to agree on things. That’s the beauty of my friends being with me on my imaginary terms; we’re pretty much in agreement on everything. Or should I say, they are in agreement with me…
We agree on music. We agree on sports. We agree on the beauty of the landscape around us. We agree that the world would be a better place if we all treated one another with more kindness. We agree that a successful outcome for man is supremely dependent on religious acceptance, as well as putting all animal life on an equal plane with human life.
Go ahead, ask me if I ever ride with God, I dare ya…
Like so many others, God pops in and out. He’ll spend a little time with me, maybe has something to say or gets me thinking about something in a new way, and on a good day, maybe he listens back just a little bit. Other times, he just sits on my shoulder with the wind in his hair and enjoys the scenery as I do.
I love riding with my friends. It’s actually a big part of why I ride — I can spend quality time with Todd Snider or Retief Goosen every day. Goosen is great on the hills. Snider…? Not so much.
I ride alone, but I’m never alone when I ride. So thank you for riding along with me.
This is what I think about my ride… Jhciacb
Bike: Bomer The Kreeps
16.7 mph avg
Yesterday’s earworm: Ain’t That Peculiar, by Fanny
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from Fanny. Enjoy…!