There’s a lot of fandoms out there, and there’s a lot of intersection between fibercrafters and the various geek-related pop-culture phenomena that are floating around these days. I don’t judge anyone for it, but I also don’t really participate in much of it. I just don’t really get fanatical about things.
Today I remembered there is one thing that makes me irrationally, ridiculously excited: this.
I’m not entirely sure of the internet history that led me to that blog. (Maybe I could ask the NSA, because I do genuinely enjoy following my own train of thought back to its station.) I do know that, at the time, I was pretty interested in bicycling and was commuting by bike on a regular basis, so it’s not entirely out of the blue. I even participated in International Yarn Bombing Day on a bike, back in 2011. My plan at the time was to be some kind of two-wheeled graffiti artist, but eventually I decided I’d much rather be knitting than pedaling.
I’ve pretty much given up on the bike. I put it in the shed, and we carried it along with us when we moved, but it’s been sitting outside in the elements for 10 months. I couldn’t avoid seeing its sad state whenever I went into the backyard, but I told myself I couldn’t really get rid of it because I didn’t exactly know how. I mean, it’s not like I could stuff the damn thing into our curb can. It’s too grody for any bike shop to take it in trade. Plus, I’m pretty sure it gave me issues with my health, which is not the way cycling is supposed to work. (I’m also pretty sure those issues were entirely related to my weight, which was 50 pounds higher at the time.)
I may have sort of given up on the bike in my yard, but I haven’t been able to give up on this particular Crazy Guy on a Bike.
I started reading Between the Ends of America sometime back in May of 2011. I only know that because I clearly remember that was my reading companion while I worked on these socks*. By the time I caught up, he was somewhere in Kansas, and I followed him through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana (which was my personal favorite), and eventually back to Seattle.
Two years later, he decided to make another trip across the continent, this time going the opposite direction (San Diego to Maine, instead of Florida to Washington), I managed to catch it from the beginning, and it’s like when you finally are on the current season of a show you’ve been binge-watching: it’s hard as hell to wait a week for a new episode, but at least with television you have a specific broadcast date. When it’s a blog, and it’s being posted by someone with sporadic internet access, you pretty much resign yourself to wearing out your F5 key, but the excitement when a new post goes up is so much higher than when the new episode of Justified airs. It’s also harder to deal with when there’s a mid-season cancellation, as happened in his next trip, American Redemption: the insane weather and cruddy circumstances caused him to pack it in and fly home early.
Since then, I’ve been checking the site periodically for some kind of update, as I felt really bad for the guy. It’s hard to read a journal that is so well-written and illustrated and not have some kind of emotional connection with its author, especially when the author is undertaking an adventure that, while seeming so accessible (who can’t ride a bike?), is really something you could only ever dream of (who can take months at a time off work just to tool around America on a bicycle?). It’s not like I didn’t know what happened, I just wanted to get a kind of post-game analysis on the situation, and know what his plans are for the future.
What does any of this have to do with anything? Well, now that we are probably going to be moving to another state (and a much smaller house) in the near future, I’ve been having to take stock of my belongings and decide what can be eliminated. Among those is that old bike, and its related accessories. I usually have very little problem divesting myself of old possessions I don’t really use anymore, but this time it was different. Yarn and fabric and books and tchotchkes are one thing, and do hold potential in their own way.
What they don’t offer is the possibility of adventure.
I think that’s why I keep coming back to the cycling thing. Even though I’ve only ever done commutes, even though I’ve never ridden more than 11 miles in a day, even though I used to work in a place where I, a world-famous hypochondriac and fraidy-cat, would see dozens of injuries and fatalities related to cycling. Even if I never pedal another mile in my life, the bike and the stuff that go with it give me a strange little bit of hope: a small reassurance that I won’t die without ever having really lived. It’s in that shadowy place where intentions meet delusions, to be sure. But it’s a reason to keep getting out of bed. It’s no Zihuatanejo, but it’s something to hope for.
So the bike will most assuredly be going on the moving truck. But first, it will be going down to the LBS for a tune-up. If my favorite Crazy Guy and his girlfriend can take a bike trip Down Under, then surely I can find it in me to hit some of the local greenways before we depart for bluer pastures.
* I don’t even like these socks anymore, but unlike many of the other things I’ve knitted, I will probably have them forever (and not just because they’re Kroy, and sized for ginormous feet). Every time I put them on, my mind goes to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the thought of someday traversing it on a bike.