Cate is bike touring on poet’s time

Cate writes, “Touring on a bike is poet’s time. In the world of racing or training, we expect some sort of algorithmic frame — « I’m riding 50 km and I’m aiming at a pace of 22 km so that should take me two hours and 15 minutes. » When you’re riding like that, you don’t settle into the now, you are always calculating how far you have to go, whether your output is hard enough. That’s what all those PRs and QOMs and accumulated distance goals on Strava and other apps are about.

On a touring bike, you’re not passing through the landscape as much as engaging in conversation with it. You stop in a village with a small, ancient fortified church. An elderly woman is buying a small bottle of Țuică while you buy a coke and a banana. Men are rebuilding the church wall, spewing diesel fumes while you eat your banana. A small boy is excited to drive the horse cart, which immediately gets into a tangle with a garbage truck. Another man casually leads the horse away from the truck. Flow, immediacy. This moment, right now.”

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