Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Gentleman's Call

Today was an awful dreamy day and I have nothing to show for it but a trail of fanciful urls. When the weather is shitty and you're stuck in the house all day, who wouldn't want to escape to someplace more inviting?

Of course, a 4 never has to leave his armchair to explore some of his favorite fantasies; like, say, a rambling springtime tour of Lake Pepin of pre-war England with other "Gentleman Cyclists" on nothing other than a Sturmey-Archer equipped 3-speed bicycle. Jon Sharratt paints me giddily nostalgic with his description of the event:

"This is, without question, the most memorable cycling event you'll find. Why? It's simple: time travel. If you are with us next May, you will be cycling through the Golden Era of English cycle touring: the 1930s.

The Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour is based on cycle touring in pre-war England. It was a gentlemanly time; few people owned a car and recreation based on automobiles was extremely limited. To get away for the weekend they would pack a few things, mount up and head to the country. Most every farmstead had refreshments or a room to rent, every little village had a family-run restaurant; just look for the “Cyclist Teas” or “CTC Recommended” sign. It’s a romantic image to be sure but firmly based in reality. It’s a reality that is fairly easy to reproduce given the right scenery, equipment and most important: attitude. One cyclist in a thousand will understand what I’m offering and that person, as you, will glaze over and say “I simply must go!”.

Of course today wasn't an especially happy day; living outside the Now generally has that effect. The past leads to guilt, regret and depression; the future, to anxiety, disappointment, and disillusionment. It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is for me to hang the Now on a cross while I go off chasing lolly-pop promises from the future; I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I feel like a rat in a maze at days end, worn out and having no idea where I am, or how I got therein the first place.

the author en route to Frenchtown, NJ, circa 1997

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