This weekend, I have to leave town and abandon the delightfully breezy bay for the burning desert of Southern California. The weekend will be packed with family obligations and visits, which means I will have no time to ride despite my father’s insistence I should take his mountain bike out for a spin.
My parents live in a small desert community – it is calm and quiet without much traffic – foot or vehicular. But it does have heat in abundance, and lots of places to lie down by the side of the road and quietly die of dehydration. Near their house is a flat, paved road which goes for about 30 miles until it becomes very rough, loose dirt. If I find the time, I may forego the comfort of a good seat and try this out, just to keep moving.
Lately, my rides have been short (between 6 and 15 miles) and kept within the city limits. I have been spending more time exploring the bike boulevards of Berkeley, which are picturesque and calm with wide roads and amazing houses all around. The only sounds I have to accompany me are birds and the click of my chain and cassette, both of which are gentle and unobtrusive. I have been riding these streets with friends mostly, but want to get there solo and take some photos. There will be a longer post on this part of the world later, when there is photographic, rather than only anecdotal, evidence of its loveliness.
I forget sometimes that there are other forms of lovliness than water and trees. That there is something equally beautiful about the sparse deserts of my youth. While I am not a mountain biker by any means (the hills in the East Bay nearly destroy me every time), there are few things that hit so close to home as a view like this:
Desolate though it may be, and despite the murderous heat in its heart, the desert is amazing. I am hoping I get to spend some time riding a different bike on new roads, seeing a part of the world where so much of my life has been spent in the same way I spend so much of my time seeing my new home now. Who could have guessed it would be a bicycle that would bring these two worlds together?