Riding local, riding abroad. Doesn't matter. "One less car" bike commuting and "Bikes Belong" advocacy, plus "I ride solo" bicycle travel. Racing is fun, but there are so many equally great reasons to ride.
Today marks the first ride I've done on my Chinese folding bike since I came back from China in late January. I'd damaged the drive train during the transport home. As well, I have been in a period of unwanted change, so it's not been a priority. Still, the little red bike seems to handle OK. It's strange to think back to the last time I rode her, in winter in a fumey curious south eastern city. Life has been very different from what I imagined this time 12 months ago, when I left to teach in China.
The fires in Eastern Washington have given us exceptional sunsets. I came to the shore to eat a picnic dinner and enjoy the view of the snow free peaks of Olympic National Park, a couple of paddlers and the bitter sweetness of late summer.
I took myself out for waterfront dining on a Saturday night. A lovely Ship Canal patio, a diverting parade of boats, the clang clang of the Fremont Bridge opening to allow a high masted sailboat to pass through. It reminds me of Seattle's charm and how wonderful the ship canal bike path can be. It's been a "taste of fall" cloudy/humid/chilly mid-August day, so this is an antidote to tinges of sadness that threaten my fragile acceptance of radically changed circumstances. Some days are very hard for me as I feel such loneliness, regret, and, so surprising for me, fear, anxiety. I am mourning a very complicated grief. It is a strange unsettling place to be. I would never choose to do this. I wish I could wake up and realize it was a nightmare. But it's reality. Life hasn't been particularly kind to me for the past 6 months. But hard as it is, I know so many other people are in worse straits. My empathy is intact. I want to attract joy back into my life.
I took a break from the bike today and hiked to a beautiful Alpine Lakes Wilderness spot. It was steep at the top but I made it. It's comforting to find a new destination in an area I thought I knew like the back of my hand. It rained last night which had a beneficial effect on the bugs. As in, drowned them for a day.