Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

34 mile loop for sundays ride

Posted by Frum Hiker on May 28, 2007

I pluck a piece of long grass from the ground where I am laying and place it in between my teeth, the back of my head is resting on the palms of my interlocked hands, and I am staring out at the road-eye level from the roadside ditch where I am biding my time munching on my grass. The breeze is gentle enough to sway the leaves, which seem content and don’t appear to be hanging on for dear life. Lush greenery surrounds me, and my heart gradually slows down as I take in the country air filled with scents of freshly mowed lawns and blooming trees.

I am 17 miles away from my house which it seems like I just left, mounting my bike with 100ozs of water swooshing in my camel back and a few protein bars, point my bike south west on the asphalt and just taking off like a freight train. Pedaling like mad and enjoying the swiftness with which my legs propelled me to this point of beauty surrounded by Gods wilderness and a few quick moving cars to disrupt the peace every few minutes.

I pluck another length of grass and just chill, cars pass with their windows tightly shut, I can see the grins on the drivers faces looking at me seated in the ditch enjoying life, as they flick through radio stations and try to enjoy their meager existences as they grumble down the road ignoring the beauty from within their cocoons of steel and plastic. Occasionally a truck, usually it’s an American truck, passes by my little reclining chair of grass, the drivers hand out the window clutching the mirror and I can hear country music in the interior mixing with 55 miles per hour wind and the rubber tires pounding endlessly on the oil streaked asphalt.

The cars with windows opened appear to be happy, occasionally affording me a glance and a nod. Usually concentrating on the road and ignoring me, the strewn about garbage and trees littering the side of the road- intent on their destination- probably a shopping plaza or a movie theater- to escape real life and the outdoors.

The roaring of a truck in low gear can be heard in the distance and I munch on a tasteless energy bar that sticks to the roof of my mouth. Yogurt honey peanut- my ass, I mumble under my breath as I wash it down with lukewarm water that tastes like plastic. I feel a headache coming on and try to ignore it in honor of the serenity engulfing me as I imprint the tall uncut grass that is watered frequently by the rain water rushing down the ditch to some local streams and brooks.

A few scattered cigarette butts can be seen their brightly white and soiled interiors poking out from some of the less dense patches of grass. I shake my head with disgust as I recall last night when two fiery projectiles were released from the sports car in front of me as I drove to ride my bike in downtown Troy. Their ashes strewn about as they lost energy, kind of like a space ship releasing its thrusters, the missiles lost air time as they slowly slid along the highway right in front of me until all that was left was their smoldering tips, waiting to be extinguished by the tires of some vehicle and then to be laid to rest amongst hundreds of their brethren on the side of the road in the cigarette and beer can graveyard that gets cleaned once every few months when a New York state correctional facility van pulls over and lets the inmates clean up the side of the road. Or maybe some fine citizens who decided to adopt the highway and rid it of its nastiness produced by citizens who may respond that one cigarette is no problem when confronted about their terrible habit of polluting the highways and byways around the world. I guess either people don’t realize how much those little projectiles of tobacco and ash hurt the environment and cause many wild fires each year along with polluting the ground water and just making a beautiful road unsightly and ultimately providing work for prison crews who would rather be doing prison laundry then cleaning up after countless slobs who don’t feel like putting their car ashtrays to good use.

Another swig of my camel back hose and I am up and clipped into my pedals pushing myself up a steady but lax incline. My speedometer is blinking as I look down at the white line that I am trying to ride on for smoothness. Soon I am coasting smoothly and fast down the two lane back road that might as well be anywhere USA. Passing red barns and motor homes as well as rusting relics of farm machinery and old cars on cinderblocks surrounded by weeds and old weathered for sale signs, I continue to pedal, sweating sun in my face and the wind gently drying the sweat as fast as my glands can produce it. I wave to a little girl jumping up and down on a trampoline as her father, with those bulky ear protectors you may see at a gun range cover his ears as he mows his large lawn to a crisscross pattern almost trying to emulate the crop circles from the movie Signs.

I pass them and continue on my journey, powered by the best in renewable energy, powered by the recently eaten balance bar and a couple swigs every now and then of the tepid water flowing forth from my plastic hose, protruding out of my back pack that is stuck to my slick back. Worry free, cell phone free and electricity free I coast along quietly on this country road trying to avoid swallowing any bugs and breathing the fresh cut grass and slight manure smells deep into my nostrils.


One Response to “34 mile loop for sundays ride”

  1. You are right. Those that throw their cigarette buts don’t give it proper thought.

    Did you hear about the smoker who while visting Cape Town’s Table Mountain allegedly threw out a cigarette butt, and caused a huge fire across the lower slopes of the mountain, last year?

    The fierce fire killed an old lady.

    That guy has been charged with manslaughter. I guess he realises what throwing butts away like this can do?

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