My Silent Summer

It has been a while since I last posted anything – over five months, to be exact.

It was early June and the promise of new adventure was in the air. Where would I ride this season? What would I see? What would I experience? The summer was mine!

Like most cycling enthusiasts, I had made some plans. I had already completed a three-day, self-supported ride on Missouri’s Katy Trail. I was on my way to a four-day tour in South Dakota. I would cross the border and take a ride in Canada while visiting family in northern New York. I would be at RAGBRAI for the 6th straight year. With my trusty Volpe loaded securely inside my minivan, I was ready to ride wherever I found myself.

And so I rode.

Each time I threw a leg over my bike, I felt like a kid again. Anxious to discover whatever might lie ahead. Unencumbered. Free. As I pedaled forward, I left my worries behind me. Each ride – all 100+ so far this year – was invigorating. And silent.

I enjoyed the silence.

I didn’t concern myself with the perpetual “war on cars” propaganda and the string of editorials decrying “entitled cyclists.” I knew that well-reasoned rebuttals would be handled civilly by the good folks at Streetsblog Chicago and the Active Transportation Alliance.

I rode on and enjoyed the silent solitude of summer cycling (pardon the alliteration).

I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in the Tour de France. It was hard to get excited about 21 days of racing when this year’s winner was preordained before a single stage had begun. Call me skeptical, but it’s hard to believe the past pervasiveness of  doping has been completely cleaned up when a single “super” team begins its reign of domination with a rider who wasn’t even a contender two years prior…

Though tempting to comment, I chose to remain silent.

I just rode. And rode. And rode some more. Silently gliding along city streets, suburban thoroughfares, rural roads and rail trails. Occupying my small space, riding my desired pace, never thinking twice about the others that objected to my peaceful pursuit of personal fitness, independence, and freedom.

I really enjoyed the silence.

It felt good to say nothing. To share nothing. To enjoy each ride and forget about the haters. And the cheaters. To quit preaching to the choir, the already converted. And to stop despairing for those who hadn’t yet discovered what bicycling is all about.

Summer has come and gone. Fall is nearly over. With fewer daylight hours to ride, I have more time to reflect on what I experienced.

For now, I’ll continue to savor the silence.


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Keep riding and stay warm!




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