Monday, November 14, 2016

Take the long way home

Alone in the woods
London, ON
November 2016
It's been a better-than-average biking season this year. The weather and other circumstances allowed me to spend more than my fair share of time spinning the pedals through the countryside around London, and I got in lots of commuting miles - oops, kilometres - shuttling the pink wondermachine to and from the office and various studios.

On this late November afternoon, I left the office and pointed my front wheel toward the setting sun. I could have taken the direct route, instead. But looping wide before turning for home seemed like the right thing to do on this perfect day. As I cruised west on the Springbank Park section of London's bike path network, the leaves crunching in a near-musical cadence under my tires, the textures of the fallen branches and other autumn leftovers gently making their presence known through the handlebars, I idly wondered how many more moments like this I'd have before the winter closed in. Not a whole lot, if history is any indicator.

So I pulled over and snapped a few pictures - not because they're particularly spectacular (thanks to the fading light, they aren't) but because I wanted to have something to look back on as inspiration for those long winter days when the world is covered in white and grey and the bikes are tucked safely in the basement.

I don't ride through the winter. I suppose I could haul out the beater bike with its big, knobby tires. Or I could get a fat-bike and keep rolling all year long. As dedicated to cycling as I've always been, though, I'm not that dedicated. Snow and ice don't strike me as particularly conducive to safe riding. Every time I see a cyclist emerge from the Dante-esque fog of a lake-effect blizzard, I quietly wish him or her safe passage and smile at the gumption it must take to saddle up in these conditions. But I also do the math in my head, the calculations that conclude, for me. at least, that the possibility of an accident in marginal conditions simply doesn't justify it.

Which explains why I've been more pensive than usual of late. I drink in each ride, trying to remember what it feels like to be out there, because any one of them could be the last of the season. I've been lucky so far, but that luck will soon run out. And when it does, I'll have these pixels to look at, to hold my attention, to inspire me until the sun returns in a few months and whispers that it's time to roll out once more.

Your turn: How do photos inspire you?


21 Wits said...

Sometimes it's even the setting up of a photo that inspires me. But normally at most of all it's something that catches my eye and causes a reaction. I'm most inspired when I look at a photo later and notice things I hadn't seen. There's true inspiration to keep shooting right?! I love taking new ways to places, it's like a new journey.

Tabor said...

Those of us who are addicts in the photography world go everywhere with our cameras.