It’s incredible how quickly you switch between rhythms and paces of life.
When not cycling, the reality of the amount of free time we’ve given ourselves becomes apparent. Three months where the only structure imposed on us is from within. Distances, budgets, bed times.
Our three day stop in Calgary saw our relatively disciplined daily routines revert back to 2am bed times and too many beers. Our organised pannier set ups become unruly piles next to the sofa in our friend’s spare room. Wet tents and tarps weren’t hung out to dry until the final day.
And it was wonderful.
Yesterday seven of us inflated a ten man raft and floated 15 miles down the Bow River, which runs right through downtown Calgary. Five hours of cruising, navigating mini rapids, stopping at island beaches, and hurried life-jacket-equipping and beer-can-hiding when police motorboats approached.
A couple of evenings back we played frisbee in a park then sat beside (and eventually on a rock in the middle of) the river eating cheese, skimming stones and watching fish do their various things.
These events were interspersed with walks around the city, games, bars, playing music, meeting people.
Slotting temporarily into an established group of friends is a privilege, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. Everyone we’ve met in Calgary has been interesting, fun, kind, and willing to let two random dudes join in. Thank you Ben, Randi, John, Becca, Tim, Dave, Jenny, Jesse.
This ties into what I’ve written before about paying it forward: as more and more generosity is given to us, I get more excited about offering the same to visitors to wherever I’m living in the future.
Spending days off relaxing, eating good food, drinking beers and performing various leisure activities in or near the river has been fantastic, and a good reminder that it’s possible to relax too much. I had this realisation while chewing a piece of gum before bed rather than going downstairs to brush my teeth.
I did shave though, so facially I’m more presentable than I have been so far on the trip.
Today we get back on the bikes and head into the most rural part of our trip so far, which will include a night in “one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world”, a night camping in an actual ghost town, and hundreds of flat, repetitive miles that we have been repeatedly urged to avoid.
Knowing the bike is outside, waiting to be loaded up with gear and to return us to days with some semblance of structure is a nice feeling.
But then so is sitting on a sofa, freshly showered, drinking coffee made with actual appliances, surrounded by guitars.