When you’re out on the county grid, surfing the monocultures of soon-to-be soybeans and corn, it can look pretty bleak.
Those straight lines on paper and Google Maps? They’re straight lines in real life, too.
But only if you disregard the panoply of Cartesian coordinates.
If you exist in a world with depth and width and length–look away from the screen for a moment; see how the refrigerator is farther away from you than the lamp on the side table? That’s evidence of three dimensions, and, if you wait a moment or two, you’ll find evidence of a fourth: the time it takes for the cat to knock the remote off the arm of the chair–there are very few straight lines.
If you’re on a bicycle, especially a fixed-gear machine where the pedals are always in motion, you face uphills and downhills.
You may continue to head toward the same bonfire or tractor or cloud bank, but your feet, reflecting the undulations not present on the map, change speed all the time.
The pedals circle the crank bearings at 80 rpms on the flat, 60 or 50 or 40 rpms going up hill, and 110 to 130 going downhill.
(Do I press back against the pedals now? Or let the bike go? What if the bike wants to go faster than me? Am I worried the front end is starting to wobble? Such are the questions of the tentative fixed-gear pilot.)
Would I prefer to pedal through a more natural landscape? One with more cattle and fewer combines, more trees and fewer tractors? Sure.
But are things out here really as boring as dirt?
Not when you have a starting point, a destination and the space between.