I scribbled this brief meditation on why I do what I do halfway up a mountain pass during a 100km ride from Agnes Water to the Boyne Valley. I love hills. They reset my legs and my head and my heart.
I see cycle touring as a form of active listening––listening to myself and the world around me.
Do I feel safe? If not, I move on. When I am hungry, I stop and eat. When I am thirsty, I take a sip of water. I’ve grown to know when my period is coming based on the phase of the moon.
And collecting stories––where do I even begin?
The bicycle is a tool for connection. A conversation starter. A form of movement I love that can take me across borders of nation and gender and class and age.
(I am me. I can never be anyone else but me. I am a white middle class almost 23-year-old cis woman from America. There’s no taking that away. But in listening I give the whole of myself––my ears, my heart––to a storyteller.)
On the bike, I become fluid.
I am in my element. I am free.