Oh, the places we will go

Wayne and I are preparing (note I do not use the word “training”) for our first Century. We are planning to ride our hybrids, in our street clothes, 100 km in late September. I have every intention of wearing my Chuck Taylors and my pink Chocolate World tee-shirt, which matches my pink helmet that I have bedazzled with Hello Kitty heads, plastic gems, and bits of ribbon sporting such things as pink panda bears. I am on the lookout for pom-pom socks to complete the look.

We are riders, not racers.

We both try to move at least seventy miles a week. For Wayne, all of the movement is in the form of bike riding. Mine includes my Leslie Sansone workouts and my walks. We are in pretty good shape and we have good attitudes and decent bikes that are well-maintained. But, 100 km? 62 miles? That’s a long ride. I might need some padded shorts.

Today, we did twenty miles. We’ve discussed doing at least one 20+ mile ride each week until the race. We had an excellent ride today and did it in a decent (for us) time. We talked, laughed, and enjoyed the scenery. We are blessed to live in a beautiful area that is quite flat, basically a bicycler’s dream. It’s a warm and wet summer so everywhere we look around here we see lushly verdant greenery, wildflowers, generously full gardens. 

Today’s ride was on the main north-south highway, the same route I take to work. And we didn’t just see maples, hummingbirds, and Queen Anne’s lace. We were also confronted with what I consider to be a great big lack of respect. Consider:

  • Boxes that originally held fried chicken
  • Bags and wrappers from McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Wawa
  • Empty cups: coffee, Slurpee, soda
  • Empty bottles: water, soda, beer

I don’t understand the need people have to toss their trash out of the window of a moving vehicle. If everyone would key into the fact that this world is a gift, and it’s one we have to share with everyone else, maybe they could discover a bit of respect for what they’ve been given. Maybe they would find in themselves a feeling of stewardship. Maybe they would wait until they got to where they were going and put their trash in a trash can (it may actually be rocket science, the whole trash can being made for trash thing).

But then… I saw the first thing that made me think I was being too hard on my fellow Delmarvans, that indicated that at least some of the dumping was accidental: a towel. Not a beach towel, which I would almost expect to see since we were on one of the major routes, therefore an artery leading to the beach. No, it was a normal old bath towel, a pretty grayish-green color. And seeing the towel opened up a sort of door to the world of Strange Things on the Side of the Road (queue creepy music):

  • A green gingham baby dress
  • A shoe, the kind that kids who play sports wear when they take their cleats off, sans sock or second shoe
  • A tee-shirt, blue, I suspect men’s (I caught a hint of a pocket)
  • A second towel, smaller than the first, originally white and now very dirty
  • An entire case of Nip-Chee

I gotta say, the item most likely to be accidentally lost is a toss up between the Nip-Chee and the baby dress. It was an extremely cute dress and any little girl, say six to twelve months, would look like a wee princess in it. But Nip-Chee? Who throws away an entire case of seriously good crackers and doesn’t mourn their loss?

We’ll have to go in the other direction next time and see what there is to see that way. We could turn it into a little bit of cultural anthropology.

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