If you spend most of your riding time out on the grid north of Dunlap, you learn several things when you ride inside the city of Peoria with Robert:
1. Central Illinois is hilly.
2. Bricks and loose gravel are perfectly acceptable road surfaces.
3. You can ride a bicycle for an hour without leaving city limits.
4. You can ride a bicycle for an hour without seeing a cornfield. Or a soybean field.
5. Somebody still knows how to actually ride with another human being, enjoying the ride instead of timing it, pedaling free of reference to computer algorithms.
6. Dead people are great company.
Okay, so maybe number six needs a bit more explanation.
It’s pretty simple: riding through Springdale cemetery not only puts you on roads that follow the terrain but roads devoid of modernity.
The people who reside along these roads are not in a hurry to get somewhere else or engage you in argument.
Whatever you’re doing—walking, riding a bicycle, trying to remember a name or an address or a year or just standing in the middle of the road—you are not in their way.
And they are not in your way.
You get along.
And if you have something to say—for those about you are well known for their reticence—you can talk to Robert.
As soon as you get to the top of the hill and catch your breath.
April 14. 17.5 miles.