28 February 2011

Left In Their Tracks

Some time during my school years, I went with one of my science classes on a field trip to the hills of northwestern New Jersey.  There, we went to a quarry and looked at the rock formations that seemed to rise and fall with the colors of the sky and water.

Somewhere along the way, someone noticed what turned out to be a dinosaur footprint. At least, that's what our guide told us.  I have never had any reason not to believe him.  Still, I wonder how a print could be preserved for millions of years while the tracks we make with our tires are washed away with the next rain, or are blown away when the ground in which they were formed turns to dust.

I was thinking about that yesterday after I saw this:

I made those tracks.  All right, I take that back.  Even when I was most serious about off-road riding, I don't think I rode anything more than 1.95 inches wide.  

But I wonder now what some future researcher would think about us from the tracks we leave behind.  Would they be able to tell a tourist from a randonneur, a criterium bike from a regular road racer or a track bike from a hipster fixie?  Would they know whether I was riding Michelin, Continental or Panaracer tires?

I'm not being frivolous now.  As a writer and educator, I have to think about my effect on future generations.  What will I leave behind with my tracks?

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