text by Jonathan Ives
photograph by Jessica Ives
Driving is the norm when you live in rural Maine and want to do anything. We measure distances with time references rather than miles. “How far is it to Lewiston?” “Oh, ‘bout an hour and a half.” I rode my bike five miles to the store last summer and when I got there two different people asked me, “When did they get you?” They thought I had lost my license with a DUI and was forced to ride my bike. In my town this is the only reason why someone would ride a bike or walk along the road.
I discovered road cycling though my wife Jessica, who has completed the 180 mile Trek Across Maine twice and an unsupported century ride once. Calling her a cycling enthusiast is an understatement. This spring we went to the Maine Bike Swap in Portland and I got myself a used Schwinn road bike. I went online and bought the bright yellow spandex jersey, skin tight shorts, helmet, and gloves. I looked the part but felt like an impostor; I struggled to keep up with Jess as she floated up and down the hills. I wore dark sunglasses whenever leaving the house to ride, not for eye protection, but because I feared my local friends would see me dressed up like a two wheel super hero. Early this summer Jess and I biked around the Acadia Park Loop, my longest ride to that point. Afterwards, it took quiet a few days for my legs to stop shouting their grievances whenever I walked.
Yesterday we biked around Damariscotta Lake. Thirty miles in two hours. The weather was perfect. Cloudy with warm wind on our faces. As we slowly climbed a hill I was filled with a new joy and appreciation for the world around me. The smell of fresh pine and fir filled my nose and I smiled. I understood. This is why people ride.
Focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
- Greg Anderson