What’s the perfect ride?
A lot of possible answers to that question.
Here’s my list of the elements it should contain:
- Point to point. Go somewhere. Don’t just ride back to the starting point. End up in a different place.
- Long distance. More than 100 miles. Enough to drain the tanks.
- Scenic. Don’t take me through an industrial park. No subdivisions. No rail trails showing the backs of buildings. I want country roads with an occasional vista and a view of a large body of water.
- Hills. Nothing too big. C’mon, I weigh 200 pounds. (Thanks for being surprised by that fact.)
- Flatlands. Nothing too boring.
- Smooth Pavement. I know I’m dreaming in Michigan, but I would like roads free of potholes and patching and cracks. I would like roads that haven’t beaten to death by un-enforced weight limits. I want smooth roads for the ENTIRE WAY. Not just a few miles of smooth roads. I want the whole route to be perfect. (I’ll accept a few miles of cobbled roads, if I must.)
- An Apron. While I’m in dreamland, may I ask for that little slice of pavement to the right of the white line. You know, 18 inches of extra pavement? Is that too much to ask for my tax dollar?
- Tailwind. OK, this one is do-able. If I’m going point-to-point, this one isn’t out of the realm of possibility. I just have to pick the right route on the right day. But it needs to be strong. We’re chasing after perfect here, and that would be perfect.
- Towns (and convenience stores) placed at proper intervals to allow me to refill the bottles. Not as easy as you think.
- No traffic. OK I’m starting to lose it, aren’t I? I live in Detroit’s north suburbs. It’s motorist hell here. This request has the potential of putting me on the no-fly list for appearing to be unstable. But the perfect ride would have almost no cars.
- No harassment from motorists. If I ask for light traffic, it’s no guarantee that the cars that I DO see won’t be complete idiots. Heck, I’ve been harassed in my own subdivision. What are the odds of going +100 miles without hearing someone yell at me to “get off the road!”? Heck, I want them to give me the whole road. I don’t want anyone to cut it close.
How much can this guy harass me?
- Friendly waves from the locals. No, I haven’t been drinking. I really want to see people wave from the front porch, or from the passing car. I want people to be happy to see a cyclist ride by. I want people at the aforementioned convenience stores to ask about where I’m riding, and I want them to be startled at the start and end points. “You’re riding from WHERE to WHERE??”
- No mechanicals. No flats. No broken chains. No broken spokes. No snapped cables (shifting or brake). And, for the love of a pre-supposed god, no squeaky chain. (Oh wait, that’s up to me, isn’t it?)
- And waiting for me at the end of my ride, I want the following: Warm sunshine. Beautiful sandy beaches. Refreshing water temps – not too cold and not too warm. Playful waves. And friends to greet me with food and drink. And a surfboard waiting on the sand. And some Coppertone. And a comfy ride home.
- No entry fee. I’m not describing a charity ride. I’m not asking for a SAG wagon. (Why the Screen Actor’s Guild shows up at charity rides is beyond me, but there always seems to be a truck with SAG printed on the door.) This is a solo training ride from my front door. I don’t want to have to pay money for the privilege of all the above.
Add it all up. Imagine a ride like that. Go ahead and just TRY to imagine a ride on smooth pavement with no cars. Try to imagine the tailwind that makes you feel like a million bucks.
That was my ride on Saturday, June 19th. From Rochester to Port Austin.
The clouds parted and the perfect ride came my way. I wish you would have a ride like this one for yourself soon. If you ask nicely, I’ll tell you what route to take.
Seriously, no cars. On a Saturday. Twilight Zone-esque.
And yes, that's me falling off the surfboard. I never said I was GOOD at it. I just said I like to do it.