Some days I ride the bike to work. I sit on it and operate the controls while studying traffic and making adjustments until I reach my destination. This is commuting.
Other times things just click. You don't think about the bikes controls, it just happens. You sit back and enjoy your surroundings. This happened to me the other day. The feeling of being part of the environment was much more intense than normal.
The sun was at the peak of its arc and bright. If you were inside looking out you would swear it was an inviting summer day. This is what I thought when I headed out of the shop on my way to lunch. In reality it was cooler and very windy. A sweatshirt was just right for a ride through town.
As I write this I don't even remember which bike I was on but I can clearly remember the wind. Fifteen to twenty miles per hour with thirty mph gusts made the trees strain. They were shaking so violently like an old man shaking his fist at me, daring me to continue on. Bouncing and twisting while shedding their foliage. Early fall color leaves were thrown like confetti in a ticker tape parade. The ones that hit the road were blowing around in snake like patterns hovering inches above the pavement. As I moved along at city speeds I remember being passed by some leaves. I don't normally take well to being passed but this seemed so peaceful while at the same time a bit eerie. I tried to pick out a single leaf and chase it down but it darted left and right much faster than I could. A stop sign ended my effort as the leaf raced through the intersection. I settled for a short wheelie to cap off the mini adrenaline rush. It all seemed so very animated, almost as if I were watching from the sidelines.
The return trip was into the wind. You can't see it but you can feel its effects. An invisible powerful force pushing and pulling on you as you make adjustments to keep in your lane. A blast from an oncoming tractor/trailer is predictable man made force that a rider can anticipate. A gust of wind from nowhere is something totally different, especially when your are riding in the city. When I rode back into the area of town with the leaves raining down I could predict the wind blasts. The movement of the leaves allowed me to actually see the wind. For a short time I could predict the wind and make zen-like adjustments just before they were needed rather than reacting to it. It all seemed so natural at the time.
Returning to the shop brought the ride to an end. You might think this is where I say that I wish it had never ended. On the contrary. I remember thinking how nice it was to put a perfect ride right at half time of a work day. With the combination of sun, wind and falling leaves, it was a ride that can only happen a few days of the year and I was lucky enough to enjoy it.