It’s that time of the summer when it’s just too damn hot and humid for bike riding to be all that much fun. The ladyfriend even gave me her car for Monday so I wouldn’t be huffing and puffing in dangerous 100 degree temps. Last summer I rode my bike 350 miles in the Adirondacks at temperatures like this, but it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity, or maybe I’ve just gone soft. At any rate, I left my house on Tuesday with a plan to just ride three quarters of a mile to the gym and exercise in the relative comfort of the YMCA’s air conditioning.
But then it was only in the mid-90s, which felt almost cool, so I decided to take the long way to the gym, and then I ended up at Lake Montebello, lifting my bike over the giant black tubes that are another sewer system on the outside, doing half a lap and then checking out the new and improved Herring Run Trail.
Oh, it was so nice to ride on a trail without cars, pedaling under the big shade of overgrowth, saying my how you doin’s to my trailmates. It was such a relief, pedal, pedal, pedal, a reminder of the beauty that’s never far away in Baltimore City. I wanted it to go on forever, but then I hit this sign: BIKE PATH CLOSED. I’m assuming that’s just while they finish making it all fancy and new, so I turned around and headed back the way I came, took the turn over the new bridge, and ended up in the park. It’s too hot for this, but it’s never actually too hot for this, because if I’m not riding a bike in the city, I forget that I live somewhere and share spaces with so many other people who are living all kinds of different lives in these same spaces. These may be shorter rides than they will be in a couple weeks when it drops to the low 90s, but for now, I’ll take it.
On another note, one year ago today I was starting my bike tour in the Adirondacks. The only person more excited about that trip than me was my dad. I’m so glad I got to plan that trip with his advice, text him from the road, and tell him in excruciating detail about every single moment of the trip–twice. We were supposed to be on a bike tour together right now. He wanted to do the Canadian Rockies, I was going to talk him into the Underground Railroad tour through Ohio. Instead of spending my spring in training, I spent it in mourning. I’ll take another tour another time, but today I’m thinking about the many, many layers of loss in this loss, the way I will keep being reminded of new things I’m missing out on with my dad. And my gratitude for the part where I did that bike tour *last* summer, when he was still here, simply cannot be measured.