Date: Saturday, September 7, 2013 (Denver to Colorado Springs)
Time: About 2:00
Wait: less than five minutes
Pushing my bike along the highway, stroke by stroke, breathing exhaust fumes, cars flying past me, making me feel like I’m not really moving at all, yet this requires so much more effort– past abandoned discards of plastic and metal that decorates the curb with a heavy eyesore. I’m wondering what the story is behind the white teddy bear that now rests upon the curb, now bruised with brown muck, what the story is on the broken crescent wrench, what the story is on a world that just throws stuff to the curb without a passing thought every single day. The sun’s hot on my back, hot on my forehead. Sweat drips down my brows, pours down my back side as the weight of my backpack pulls the wetness closer to my skin.
I cycle south on Interstate 25 till Castle Rock and decide to try my luck and hitch-biking from there. (not to be confused with hitch-hiking). Pleasant as it is, only five minutes of wait allows for a black truck to pull over, a guy driving with his girlfriend in the passenger seat. We throw my bike and backpack in the truck bed and take off.
I have company in the back seat of the small crew cab– a black lab, a young pup named Libby, only weeks old. She sits upright at watches out the front window intently, panting with her large pink tongue drooping like a thick, slimy Fruit Roll-up. I pet her and soon enough she’s falling asleep on my lap. She really shines the definition of good dog– she’s a damn good dog.
” We know how it is to have to wait for a ride while hitching,” the guy says. ” We hiked to the summit of Humphrey’s Peak once and couldn’t get a lift down the pass for over an hour… it was like, do you really think we’re dangerous hikers, this high up on an empty mountain pass?” They both laugh about the experience, and then we all do– we can all relate.
They whisper things to each others like intimate lovers do, and the dog just flops herself on my lap as the road rolls on. I’ve cycled from Denver to Colorado Springs a few times, and it’s moving in a car that you realize how far of a distance it actually is on a bike. On a bike, you have to stay focused on the task at hand, every pedal stroke, every hill requires infinite detail to one’s pace. In a car, the road rolls on smoothly, like glass, the only effort one’s foot gently resting on the accelerator and the hum of the radio.
And the feel of the sweat being licked off your legs as Libby enthusiastically laps up the drops.
Hey, we’re almost there. Life is good.