Back to Reality

I was walking up the stairs from the subway and noticed that it was dark. I thought, “shoot, do I have my bike lights?” I didn’t have my bicycle, so it was a moot point, but it proves that I am still in cycling mode.

I’m also still on bike time, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I go to sleep at 10:30, and wake up early. On the one hand, I’m getting a lot of sleep, but on the other hand, I can’t stay up past 11. It’s causing a few problems.

Is this what real life was like before? Have I not changed at all because of this trip? My legs certainly are a lot stronger right now, but how long will that really last? I’m kind of adjusting to being a pedestrian again, although my legs and feet are definitely fighting it. I think they had just gotten used to the circular motion on the bicycle, and are curious when they’ll be going back to that. Since I hate riding my bike in Toronto, it won’t be anytime too soon. (After riding along beautiful roads like those in the mountains and Maritimes, battling streetcar tracks and crazy Toronto taxis isn’t quite as much fun.) I don’t think my ridiculous leg muscles will last too much longer.

I definitely do appreciate the variety of foods I can now have. Even just eating a homemade ham and cheese sandwich is very exciting – I couldn’t refrigerate anything on the trip, so homemade sandwiches for lunch were pretty much out of the question, unless they were made of peanut butter. I don’t even own peanut butter right now. It’s very empowering. I haven’t had rice in a couple of weeks. Which is good. Because now I hate rice. And peanut butter. And tortillas. If I don’t eat any of those things for a year, I will be OK with it.

There was a thunderstorm the other night, and I was lying in my warm and cozy bed, inside my warm and cozy apartment, listening to it, knowing that I would not wake up in a large puddle because I had set up my tent in a depression in the ground. And you know what? It was awesome. But at the same time, I did miss camping. The best way to experience a thunderstorm is in a tent, as long as everything is dry and will stay that way, and you have a fair degree of certainty that you will not be struck by lightning.

I do notice myself looking at bicycles differently now. I’m evaluating how they would do on a particularly steep mountain pass, or whether the frame and spokes could support my gear, or how comfortable the seat looks if a rider had to be in it for eight hours per day. I see cyclists speeding through the city and I miss riding. I don’t miss riding in the city, but I do miss riding. There’s just something so thrilling about seeing the world from a bicycle – everything goes by at just the right pace so that you can take in everything around you, but still get to the end destination in a timely fashion.

So, will I do another big bike trip anytime soon? Probably not in the near future, but it will always be in the back of my mind. I hope.

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