11 July 2010

The Tides, Coming and Leaving

Today I did another ride to Point Lookout.  This is the third time in the last four weeks I've done that ride.  So, as you might imagine, I'm starting to feel like my physical condition is returning, and I am therefore gaining some more confidence. 

The ride offers so much that I like:  seaside vistas, a laid-back feel and the opportunity to ride from city to small town and back again.  In that sense, it reminds me a bit of touring in Europe:  Because that continent and its countries are smaller than North America and the United States, city and country are closer to each other in the "Old World" than they are here.  So I could indulge my passions for art and architecture as well as for sunshine and fresh air and food.

In a way, you can say that today I channeled my Inner European in one small way:  the way I made my bike stand when I got to Point Lookout:

Obviously, I'm not doing a track stand.  And there's no kickstand on my bike.   So what's my secret?  It's one of those many tricks I learned in Europe:

If you lean the bike on the left pedal, make sure it's slightly behind the 90 degree position.  Otherwise, the bike will topple--unless, of course, it has  a fixed gear.

I've done this ride at least a hundred times before, and I'll probably do it that many more times, as long as I'm living within a morning's ride of it. According to Bike Snob, I'm in the same league as babies, dogs and designers.  Like them, I can be fascinated by everyday objects, or at least by the everyday.  So, when I got to Point Lookout, I watched the tide going out.  

People who live there can tell you when the tide comes in or leaves.  They remind me, in a way, of a rather old couple I met in Liborune, France.  The town is about 30 kilometres from Bordeaux and is situated at the point at which the Garonne river bends and begins to open to the sea.  I'd cycled from Paris via the Loire Valley and Aquitaine; my intention was to cycle to and along the sea.   It was late in the afternoon; I'd stopped by a riverside grove.  The couple were   taking a walk, as they did every day, he told me.  They'd asked about my ride and what brought me to their part of the world.  "J'aime ces pays," I said.

"D'accord," they replied in unison.  Then, suddenly, the woman tapped me on the shoulder.  "Regardez!  Regardez!"  

I turned to look at the river, which was swelling like a small tide.  The man explained, "Les marees vienent deux fois chaque jour":  The tides come in twice every day.  He took pride, not simply in knowing that fact, but in his intimacy with a place and life he clearly loved, and with a woman who shared his passion.

The tide left, and I did some time later.  Just a little way down the road from that grove, I picked up a bike path that paralleled a route departmentale to Bordeaux city line.

(Note:  I'm looking for a scanner I can use on some of the photos I took during that, and other bike trips.)

1 comment:

  1. Of course we don't have anything like measurable tides out here in Minnesota, but we have sunsets. My wife is a sunset watcher. She will call out for me to watch, "Sunset!", as if I'd miss it without her. The breeze tends to fall in the evening. On those days the lake mirrors and we get a double 'set.