The Companionship of the Long Distance Cyclist

I am related, not too distantly, to Alan Sillitoe, author of a collection of stories called The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. I have never been a runner, but it does look like a lonely sport. Even when running with someone the focus of the runner seems inward. Cycling, at least as I practice it, is very companionable. I get to ride with Hannah, my daughter, as well as my friends, and even when by myself I find myself nodding or waving to all other cyclists I pass.

Yesterday Hannah and I drove down to Dennis on Cape Cod, and then rode the entire length of the Cape Cod Rail Trail to Wellfleet, and back. This was a total of 45 miles, and is a good training ride for both of us ahead of the Hazon ride in a few weeks. We happened to meet some friends on the trail who are staying on the Cape for vacation and happened to be out on a family bike ride.

This was especially hard work for Hannah for whom it was the longest one-day ride she has ever done. However, we had lots of fun just chatting, learning about how it feels on a long ride, working hard and earning good feelings of achievement. At the end of the ride (around 6pm) the trail was almost deserted, but we had each other for companionship, and never once felt lonely.


Gregg Stern said...

This is a beautiful posting to your blog, Richard.

I will remember the posting -- and will add the Dennis-Wellfleet Trail to my ride wishlist.

Anonymous said...

It is a lovely trail. Because it is relatively flat and hidden from the roadway, there is a tendency to forget how long you have been riding - and therefore forget to eat and drink. You don't realize it until you are feeling poorly. So, I have found it useful to stop on a timed or distance schedule, and then eat and drink.