Saturday, May 11, 2013


Last year I picked up a brochure for a series of adventure bikes. The photography was great but there was hardly any text describing these bikes. This inspired me to write a short piece that I thought would be right at home inside a brochure created specifically for the adventure biking crowd. It's about an overly descriptive cycling columnist who writes from the comfort of his log cabin. I'm a Minnesota native who rides a mountain bike to work so this one was easy to dream up. I hope you like it.

Title: Touching Intangibles

No snow this year, but looking out the window on this, the last day of the year, there’s a heavy drizzle stirring about. Not a single star is visible as I try in vain to peer past my overgrown right brow.

Sitting at my desk, squinting to push back the persistent beacon of pixels, it occurs to me that my optimal writing time is between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM. No distractions. No sound other than the clicking of molded plastic against molded plastic and the subtle whir of the computer’s fan. If I stop and listen for it, I’ll allow myself to endure the monotonous ticking of our ‘AA’ powered clock hanging in the dining room. No tock. Just, tick, tick, tick. Thankfully it fades within seconds of returning to the glow, replaced by the random crackles of war echoing in the fireplace.

While writing, I‘m also partial to my wool sweater. Not only does it match my salt and pepper mug, it makes me feel like a writer. Whether I’m being paid to do this or not, it doesn’t matter. I fully embrace dressing the part. Writing in the dark, wrapped in wool and solitude, I’ve found my time and place in this world. The extra pound of fabric suits me, especially when seated with no requirement to support the added heft.

As bright as this screen is, the fat rubber and cold steel leaning against the davenport never fails to occupy my periphery. It’s too late to ride, or too early, depending on whether you’re a half full or half empty type of person. Admittedly I’m a half empty type. Technically I’ve not ridden at all today. Maybe I’m a half full type after all.

Within minutes I will find myself shuffling across these wooden floors; dusty and drafty, creaking beneath my 200-pound frame, forcing nails up, then down again. The soles of my slippers soften the blow as they wrestle with the grit and uneven planks. It’s a small trek, but a worthy commute. The half empty side of me notices my lights are too dim to ride at this hour, while the half full side of me finds the moon beams more than enough to light my way. I’ll take my chances.

Forty degrees is not only child’s play in a wool sweater, it’s down right refreshing. Breaching the threshold, the initial blast takes me by surprise. Wind chill is a funny thing. As the door closes behind me, it bumps the rear tire, forcing the chain against my left calf. Decades on a bike and I still make silly mistakes like that. I can’t help but think that if there was snow, I might have reduced the PSI for more float and avoided yet another chain-whipped boot leg.

Clumsy as I may be, I enter the trail from my driveway and head towards the spill way. Within minutes, the trail darkens, starved of light as the canopy thickens. I turn towards the cabin to see how far I’ve ridden. My vision is blurred. It’s a dull glow. My chin suddenly dives. My beard scratches as the muscles and tendons in the back of my neck snap my head upright. My eyes pop open in unison and to my surprise, I’m seated at my desk, both hands lifeless in my lap, the monitor’s power button is now amber. The clock is still ticking but it’s hidden by blackness. I bump the mouse to see that it’s not too late. Within minutes I will find myself shuffling across these wooden floors.

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