It began in frustration, perhaps even a tiny bit of anger. Mostly at myself, for things undone, feelings unjustified. I pedaled out of town, determined not to come back until I felt better, until the burning of my thighs and the pounding of my lungs and the wind upon my face had fixed whatever it is I was frustrated about, cleared the cobwebs in my head.
I pedaled hard, as if to push the negative feelings right out of me. The rain and storms that had been lingering all day had finally passed, the sun struggling to peek out from the remaining clouds. The road was nearly deserted, the weekend warriors gone home, the day trippers retired for the evening. Pavement turned to gravel, cliffs rose above me on my right, the river slowly meandered on my left.
I rounded a bend, and suddenly, rays of light appeared, beaming through the trees, illuminating the road in front of me. I stopped, stood there for several moments, and felt a calm wash over me. I was no longer frustrated, no longer upset. All was well again. I smiled, and mounted my bicycle once more.
The rest of the ride was a peaceful one—one of discovering new roads I’d never biked on before, quietly observing several deer and a family of turkeys go about their business, barely acknowledging my existence. A long climb to Ridenour Overlook was worth the view of the lake and the mountains and valleys beyond, and the clouds rising from the water. The ride down the mountain was exhilarating, thrilling. As I crossed the 4th Street bridge back into town, the setting sun cast a beautiful orange hue over the Juniata River below.
I had returned feeling 100% better than when I started. Often, a little solo pedaling time is enough to cure just about anything. I think that’s pretty cool.
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking. ” -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle