tour de first

every exposed inch of my body is covered in a fine layer of either sweat or grease or that grey gook that bikes gather in rainy city streets … as bumblebees gathering pollen from a field of flowers. oh, the infinite fecundity of Boston asphalt!

i have spent the past 3 days prepping for what was originally going to be a 4.5-day solo bike tour north from Boston, but since I just spent the last 3 days prepping, it will now be 1.5 days.

truthfully, i have not spent the entire past half-week prepping for the trip. in reality, i have been drilling holes in walls, unearthing vast amounts of recycling in my room, and far exceeding my previous records on purchasing instant carbs of all kinds (rice, potatoes, noodles, you name it!).

turns out having a looming trip that i am somewhat scared about is a great incentive to do all my lingering house projects! (it runs in the family… my dad is famous for spending 3 days organizing his sock collection in anxious anticipation of his mom and my mom meeting). turns out, also, that it’s a lot less scary to do a one-overnight dealio, than a three-overnight haul! so all’s well that ends well.

notwithstanding the many exciting distractions, however, my bike is spotless, and tricked out to the nines, tens and all its gills with every accoutrement you can imagine: front handlebar bag, under-the-seat bag, airhorn to express self-righteous indignation at disrespectful cars, little bell to express frustration at meandering pedestrians, water bottle holder, tire pump, cell phone holder, bike lock and locking cable, front wheel spoke lights, panniers, tail light, front light, bike seat cannibalized from a Mystery Bike in our basement that’ll hopefully be easier on the tooshie. it no longer looks sleek, but I am READY!

so, tomorrow morning i’ll clip on my panniers and hit the road before getting scooped by a friend to hike in the White Mountains for 5 days (hence all those instant carbs). maybe, if i’m not too exhausted, i’ll bike back to Boston at the end.

i’m excited … for this time to myself to reset and let the past year wash over me. but also, i go –this first of hopefully many (much longer) bike tours– in gratitude for all those bikers and bike-abetters in my blood + queer family (tiny tear). not to get sappy, but there are some total badasses 🙂 my housemate who has lent me gear and got the idea in my head in the first place, aforementioned dad who biked across Japan back in the day, bro B who gave me the spoke lights (“don’t get yourself killed, now, narxy!”), gpa Pete whose iconic Belmont-Cambridge bike commute every day of his working life is still the stuff of legend, and my aunt Sonja who lived carless in Portland OR and unwittingly passed on her waterproof panniers to prove it. let this ride be as much a tiny tribute as a micro-escape!

so, off i go, at some entirely relaxed hour of the morning tomorrow. wish me luck, and no more than one flat 🙂

One Comment Add yours

  1. Soren says:

    Ah yes, grime is an unavoidable part of bike maintenance. The best way to deal with it that I learned recently is: first rub cooking oil into all the greasy grime BEFORE the usual dish detergent, soft brush under fingernails, then warm water — takes it all off!

    Have a wonderful time! Biking is a great way to see the land and meet people.

    I have fond memories of biking to Montreal and back with Steve P-H and climbing Mt. Washington along the way. The only glitch was floppy panniers swinging into the rear wheel, getting caught in spokes, dragged into derailleur, which snapped off. But when hitchhiking to a bike shop in Nashua for a replacement, I met a cool dude who’d spent his college years in northern WI canoeing with Bad River Ojibwe. All can be for good!

    Liked by 1 person

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