A Farm Near Easton, MD

Ten years ago I trained for and rode in Ride for the Feast. It’s a big fundraiser for Moveable Feast, an organization that provides nutritionally balanced meals to people with health conditions who are also facing food insecurity. It’s a great organization that does amazing things, and ten years ago it was also the place I rode my first century. I signed up for it not because it was such a good cause, but because I love riding a bike, and I wanted to meet some bike-loving queers–which I did.

My relationship had just recently ended, so I was a bit of a sad sack during the final weeks of training, and on the ride itself. I was dating around on the ol’ OkCupid, anybody who looked slightly interesting and was in DC. Baltimore is a small town, and every queer I knew I had met through the ex, so I was trying to stay safe. I did message this one woman in Baltimore, and she had messaged me back. We both had the same favorite pen–the Zebra. I can’t meet up until after this big ride, I told her. We met up the Tuesday after that weekend ride, and it was, for me, love at first sight. So here we are, ten years later, and we spent our dateaversary apart so I could do this big bike ride again.

A lot has changed since that last ride. I still signed up for the friendship, joining R. and R.’s team because I like them so much and want to be friends with them. But I also signed up because I intimately understand the difference food makes when you are going through cancer treatment or another illness that makes caring for yourself difficult. I didn’t need their services, but that was just the luck of the draw–a job that kept paying me, a partner who could do the cooking, and a community that generously supported me through it. Everyone should have that, and Moveable Feast makes it happen.

Another difference is that I didn’t ride 100 miles. I rode 42, the short course, choosing to listen to my body’s needs rather than the external map. This was really hard for me. It feels like cheating, like I can’t trust myself to make a good choice and am probably just trying to get out of something. But I’m 47 years old, and I have a lot of evidence that I don’t try to get out of much. And what am I getting out of? Nobody cares how many miles I bike, and if I want to bike 100 miles, I can certainly do it. But I want to train for it, and for that I needed more time. My dad’s rule was always to end a bike ride wanting to take another one. Riding 42 was a good way to ensure that.

And it did. What a wonderful day. My bike was freshly tuned up, and the roads were flat. Baltimore has hills, so unless I drive my bike to a rail trail, I’m pumping up and down. It’s like swinging with a heavy bat for a ride like this one. Sure, there was wind, but on this Saturday, it wasn’t bad. The last 18 or so miles were my favorite–all alone, music on my lil bluetooth speaker, thinking about the gift to my life a bicycle has been. Riding a bike has led me to amazing people, gorgeous places, on incredibly adventures. On the everyday, my bike has become the place I feel most at home, most authentically myself, most free. It has attuned my attention in ways that teach me every single day. Look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go, and remember to look up and out. Why does it look and feel like this here, I always ask, and the answers teach me so much. Endless gratitude for this bike thing turning up in my life fifteen years ago.

I could say a lot here about how different Easton, MD is from where I live. I could write about the Trumpers saying truly crazy shit at the diner on Friday. Or the truck with NO SNOWFLAKES in big lettering on its back window. The smell of the chicken house in this photograph, and the out-of-sightness of the meat industry for many of us. I could write about the conversations I had with other riders, the feeling of being part of a team, the way the rain poured for hours and hours, and I stayed dry, but those century riders sure didn’t, and how we all had our feet in the rising water under the tent at the dinner and after party. I could write about waking up early on Sunday and heading home, wanting to sneak in on that girl I met ten years ago to tell her I’m still madly in love with her. But this ride was really what I want to write is that I love my bike and the world we get to make together. And I’ll see you next year, Ride for the Feast. Team Snakefish Heads for life!

One thought on “A Farm Near Easton, MD

  1. I love that you have a loving relationship with your bike, other queers, your girlfriend, the land and sky, and team Snakefish. Congratulations! DJM Donna Martin (she, her, yinz) 410-314-1689 (Home) 443-831-4974 (Mobile) We must “act so that the effects of our actions are compatible with the permanence of life.” Hans Jonas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.