by Mark Nadeau
One advantage to cycling is the ease of stopping along the way. Many a good glove, tool and bungie cord have been retrieved by cyclists or pedestrians. Stopping to read historic plaques is easy if you are not just getting from A to B in the shortest period. One such stop is at the Patterson Corner Bridge where the road passes over the South Branch Creek. Right now, the water is high and runs with a good current. Further down the river, below the dam in Oxford Mills, there is a remarkable sight of a large school of carp that prowl about. All the senses can be treated if the breeze is in the face. Who can recognize the heavy scent of balsam poplar on a calm evening? it is divine. Much like walking, the best of biking is having the world close by and unfiltered.
This is not to ignore the other benefits of being on a bike. The first and foremost is that of healthy active living. This can be easily over stated and over done. Think of those out on a racing bike on a sweltering day, hunched over the bars, with sweat and snot dripping from the nose. Glamour this is not but it is power and prestige in the right circle. Cycling for some has taken on a significance that leaves others shaking their head, wondering what’s more valuable, dollars or sense. Behind the mirrored glasses and Spandex clothing are nice people with great figures and no body fat. So please, give them space as you pass.
There is more an more research that is finding that the fast pace of our lives needs to be interrupted with some down time. It is not a stretch to suggest that there is a spiritual element to cycling. Committed cyclist know the road, well beyond where to avoid potholes and other hazards. The author of “The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” had this in mind for big bikes. Some of his lessons do apply: learn to take care of your vehicle, be attentive and resourceful. All these things are easier on a peddle bike than a larger vehicle.
So where does this all lead? To the garage, to the shed, to the bike shop. Get that bike out, lube the chain, pump up the tires and peddle! Take an unfiltered ride. And please don’t forget to join us for the Bike Rodeo at Maplewood Park in Oxford Mills on Sunday, June 11 from 10:30 to 1:00. There is nothing like the power of numbers to encourage the newcomer and validate the die hard. There is more information available at the Oxford Mills Community Association’s Facebook page.