16 July 2016

Everything I Need

For today's ride, I brought some things I usually take with me:  spare inner tube, tire levers, Park Tool MT-1 and a patch kit. But I didn't need any of them, thankfully.

I did bring two things I definitely needed:  water and sunscreen.  During the course of  my ride, the temperature rose from 27C (81F) to 33C (92F) and I pedaled under bright sunshine, at least until the last half-hour or so of my ride.  Also, I spent much of my ride by the ocean or bay, which intensified the sun--and the wind.  Fortunately, for most of the ride out, I was pedaling into the wind, which meant that it blew at my back for most of the way home. That's especially nice when you're riding a fixed gear--Tosca, my Mercian fixie, of course-- as I did today.

OK, so everything sounds good, right?  In fact, my ride was very, very nice:  I felt good, the bike felt great and as hot as the day became, it didn't feel oppressively so.  And the rain waited until half an hour after I got home. (You didn't know I had the power to so influence precipitation, did you? ;-))  When I got home, I gulped down some seltzer as Marlee and Max curled up with me.  I cooked some pasta to use up the last of a batch of pesto I made a while ago. (I don't know how much longer it would have kept.  Besides, I think there's some nice fresh basil on the way!)  I dozed off, awakened about an hour later by a friend who called "just because."

You might say I lived a privileged life today.  I wouldn't dispute that.  Still, I'm going to complain about something.  (Aren't privileged people the first to do that?)  Here goes:  I had everything I needed, and almost everything I could have wanted.  Notice I said "almost":  I forgot to bring my camera, or even my cell phone, with me.  

Funny how, even at this late date, I can recall having spent the majority of my cycling life without a cell phone.  And I have done many other rides without a camera.  As it turned out, I didn't need the phone:  I had no emergencies and, when I got home, I saw that no one had tried to call me.  But there is something I would have liked to record with my camera, or even my cell phone.

Today I rode to Point Lookout.  I followed the same basic route I've taken for most of my PL rides over the years.  I didn't see anything out of the normal or meet anyone new, so, perhaps, there was nothing to record.  However, when I arrived at PL, I noticed that it was fenced off behind the ballfield and playground.  

Actually, it looked as if only the parking area was blocked.  So I did what the German Army did to the Maginot Line:  I marched (OK, walked my bike around) it.  Although I didn't see anyone else on the rocks or sand by the water, and I didn't see anyone walking their dogs or significant others on the sandbar (The tide was out.), I didn't think I was anywhere I wasn't supposed to be.


Then I heard a whistle behind me.  No, someone wasn't admiring my physique.  It was that unmistakably shrill tweet--almost a shriek, really--of an "official" whistle, perhaps one of the police or the military.  Turns out, the guy who blew the whistle was connected with the latter:  the Army Corps of Engineers.

I must say, he was friendly and polite when I asked him why he was chasing me away from the beach.  The folks at ACE decided that there was a lot of damage--some from Superstorm Sandy, and some that preceded it--to the beaches, rocks and habitats.  To be fair, even before Sandy, I had noticed erosion and other kinds of damage to the environment over the years (more than 20) I've been riding there.  

Certainly, I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to spend some time propped up on the rocks, feasting on the reflection of the water and  and reveling in the sun and wind against my skin.  But, I reasoned, it would be nice for all of it to still be there when I ride to it again:  something I may do soon, even if I can't walk on the sandbar when the tide is out.  After all, the ride is still great.  And I have everything I need.

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