Learning about a new place can be both fun and challenging, whether you’ve moved a long way from what used to be home or you’re just visiting for the first time. One of the finest ways to do this is on a bicycle.
Ernest Hemingway said so:
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best…
Most of us ride at a pace that lets us appreciate our surroundings. Unless we’re on a tight schedule to get somewhere and back, we can stop for coffee or shoot some photos or just take a closer look at something that catches our attention.
Maps aren’t always available to help with your wayfinding. Mrs. Smith and I got lucky when cycling friend David Lehmann introduced us to cycling velocartographer John Hodge on a coffee ride a while back.
John says his maps are there to be “downloaded, printed out, linked to, or used in any way that a) helps people enjoy road cycling around here more, and b) isn’t for commercial purposes without my consent.” You can contact him at that link to his maps.
Sounds more than fair to me. Don’t try to sell them in a bike shop or anywhere else without his permission.
The attractions haven’t exactly been well-kept secrets for a while anyhow, so think about heading our way if you get the chance. The Smiths have been here long enough now that we can point you to some good places to hike, bicycle, eat, and drink beer and wine. Just leave a comment below and ask!
If you drive, be careful and have fun. If you’re coming for the cycling, be careful and have fun.
A few lizards hotfooting across the pavement. Three solitary squirrels scurrying to their own shady spots. A butterfly, fluttering by.
Those were among the few signs of life on the Colorado Riverfront Trail as I pedaled along on my lunch break today. It was not yet 95 degrees F, as it is now, and climbing, climbing. There was time to think.
Dry heat means nothing like what it once meant to us before we came here.
High desert has its charms and wonders, but it is hard not to wonder how long it will be before this lonely planet will be so hot and so dry that one can’t sweat at all, high or low, far inland or on a sandy beach by an ocean.
On a hot, sunny evening in the valley we sat on smelly folding lawn chairs we should have replaced years ago but I didn’t know until just then that they were smelly, as if they’d been stored in a dark, dank basement for years. Now I know.
To the east loomed a flat-top mountain, reaching five-thousand-plus feet above us. Sheer cliffs to the south and west obscured another horizon but promised to hide the sun in just a little while. To the north and stretching toward Utah, more cliffs hid the high desert that reached beyond to wherever.
Strangers and friends arrived with their own smelly chairs and straw hats and camera phones and smiles, and attitudes and opinions on their tees and skins, and expectations of reliving something of the past that just would not fade away. An hour on, maybe more, it happened in this place by the river where we sat surrounded by the world and now by sound.