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the odyssey

I fetched my bicycle from its winter dwelling place yesterday, but too late to ride it anywhere. So today I went out on an expedition: I packed a lunch and set off to visit our new house, which I haven't seen since the open house and into which we're moving in less than a week, now. It's right on the end of the bike path, so I zipped right out there in no time (well, with a slight detour to watch a soccer game), and looked, and decided that looking at the house wasn't much good without being able to get inside. So I went to bike some more.

Certain maps had led me to believe that the bike path continued beyond what is to all outward appearences its terminus in Bedford Center, so I asked at the bike store there, and a kind representative of that establishment confirmed that that was in fact the case, in a manner of speaking. And as it turns out, that manner of speaking was that, yes, there is a way to get though to Concord Center from there, but it is not in the least easy to find. Also, it's made out of dirt.

At least I have a fairly heavy-duty mountain bike, so I didn't mind the lumpy ground or the extensive areas of mud (to the depth of several inches). I did, however, have some difficulty with the fact that every time the path crossed a road it was a matter of several minutes before I was able to find where it continued on the other side, and only then after consulting with several local residents and passers-by. I wasn't the only one to have such difficulties: at one intersection I shared my confusion with another party of expeditioners, who unfortunately I was not able to help. Nor could they offer me any assistance at that point.

Eventually, however, I made it to Concord, with the purpose of visiting Leah in her store. I did that, and I stayed for a good long while. While obviously enjoyable for its own sake, the duration of the visit also had the side benefit of giving me a length of time in which I was not on the bike. By then, I have to confess, both my legs (specifically my anterior thighs) and my, um, seat were about done. I was about ready to walk the bike up the last big hill I had to traverse, and I was going pretty slow (and also moaning and groaning) when a couple other guys came by going, not remarkably fast, but a reasonable human speed. Since they had muddy mountain bikes too, I figured they'd been out a while as well; so I couldn't let them put me to shame. I caught up the slower of them and thanked him for providing motivation, and then we had a nice little conversation.

Then the last bit of the way home, back on the paved bike path, I was going as slow as anything. I was getting passed by folks on rollerblades, which is just as embarassing as it can get when you're on a bike. I bought some lemonade from some small children about a half mile from home, and I really don't think I would have made it without that little burst of sugar. I couldn't manage to get back on the bike after I crossed Mass Ave, so I walked it the rest of the way home.

One final note: having to carry my bike up the stairs does make me feel nicely cosmopolitan, but on the other hand it's not what you'd call particularly convenient. Although... I don't know where we're going to keep bikes in the new house. I think the second bedroom upstairs might be free...

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