The more I pedal, the more I feel the need to.
Labor Day Weekend, I biked from Saginaw to downtown Fort Worth to pick up some coffee. Not just any coffee, but a bag of locally roasted beans I had heard folks talking about. A fellow Night Rider, Paul Allen, had roasted a bag and left it at Trinity Bicycles down on South Main. The gorgeous sunny weather and the freedom of cycling through town, across the Trinity Trails system, even down some of the less savory streets that make up part of my route, all worked together to feed my newfound addiction.
On my way to the waiting java, I started dreaming of longer trips, trekking across country, slowly digesting the miles, one bite at a time. I wondered about investing in a touring bike, and, since I was picking up my coffee at Trinity Bicycles anyway, slowly worked one of the guys into a conversation about my potential upgrade from a fitness bike to a touring bike. I'll skip the details, but I left the shop, with some bikes on my mind to check out later when I could get online.
On my way back home, I ended up on the western side of the trials, headed towards the Naval Air Station. As I pedaled along the gravel-strewn dike path, I noticed ahead of me a fellow wheeled exerciser. Instead of a bicycle, he was steadily working the wheels of a wheelchair. Muscled arms, sweaty and red with what looked like enormous effort, he approached and I offered a "good afternoon" to which he responded with equal politeness as he passed. By the distance from our crossing paths to the nearest access to the trail, I estimated that he had gone at the very least, a mile, but I suspect he had done more than that.
Seeing people like him, suffering who knows what health condition but still able to get out and enjoy the exertion, makes me all the more inspired to pursue a long bike trip next summer. I haven't made up my mind where I want to go most, but just the idea of challenging my endurance while seeing the country from the intimate perspective of the bicycle saddle just fills my imagination today.
The boys at Trinity Bicycles, having heard that my wife won't let me drop a grand on a new bike before cleaning out the garage, have offered to come up to the suburbs and lend me a hand. As soon as I get caught up somewhat on my finances, I'll give them a call and start building up my touring machine.
Until then, I'll be daydreaming over those websites that users use to gloat over their conquests (the two-wheeled conquests) as they post pictures from all over the world showing off their heavily-laden panniers and their front racks brimming with cargo.