In my lines of work (many lines, too many lines), there isn’t anything like a true vacation. I might be away from home, with my family, in a place where ice cream and sunburns come easy, but most of the projects I’m working on, including this one, require constant care and feeding. What would you even do with your Friday, if I wasn’t here to juggle and do card tricks for you?
And lest this become some sort of sideways complaint about my lot in life, it’s worth noting that my every day includes opportunities for outdoor recreation, My travels, even when I’m working, are to nice places, with outdoorsy people. It’s the sort of thing where I’m often not completely clear whether I’m working or not, which is, I think, what we’re supposed to aspire to.
So, I’m always working, but also always not working.
The point is, I’m away this week, and I have a bike with me (duh). I bring the bike, because bringing a bike is what I do. I have no firm and fast plans. Maybe I’ll ride to the beach in the morning, go for a swim, then come back and drink coffee. Or maybe I’ll spin over to the state park and see what the trails are like. Maybe I’ll even leave the bike leaned against the one empty wall in the living room, and ignore it, because I can. At points in between I’ll update spread sheets, make a few calls (to people I like talking to), offer some opinions to folks who are actually interested in what I think, and hurl more words into virtual space.
In past years I’ve gone on “vacation” with ambitions for racking up miles (for whatever they’re worth), but this year I have no real agenda. What should my agenda be? The mode I’m in right now is casual AF. To some degree, I realized that all the riding I was doing was obscuring my view of riding. I was failing to observe much, to absorb the lessons, or value the experience. What I’m finding lately is that by slowing down a little, riding shorter distances, or with goals beyond “more” or “faster,” I’m enjoying the bike much more. Sometimes the point is ice cream and a sunburn. Right?
This weeks TCI Friday asks, what do YOU do on vacation? Do you always ride? Do you always ride hard? Or do you take a break from the bike? For those with families, do you struggle to strike a balance between ride time and family time? That used to be a thing for me. Now I have teenagers and they often don’t even notice when I’m gone (and by extension when I’m around).