TCI Friday

As I type, I am keenly anticipating walking my bike onto the ferry, the smell of briny harbor and diesel heavy on the air, then climbing the stairs to the top deck where the wind blows hardest and even a warm breeze can chill you. There is no feeling quite like hearing the engine rumble its deepest notes and the whole project lurches away from its moorings, leaving nothing but water between you and your responsibilities.

This is Brisk Sport Weekend, an annual confabulation (and conflagration) of sportsfolk on Block Island during which striped bass, blue fish and occasionally squid are hunted with vigor (despite almost always being released back to the wild). Waves get surfed. Trails get ridden. Birds get watched. And coffee, by the pot and cup, gets swilled in service of all the aforementioned.

One man’s goat parade is another man’s spiritual retreat.

It’s an invitation-only affair whose membership is by no means exclusive. Think of a superannuated Breakfast Club made of characters like Hunter S. Thompson and Mister Magoo. We target the off-season, so as to limit our contact with other humans. Stupid ideas and pointless pursuits are its currency. And naps.

I will ride the sea cliffs and broad, grassy trails of the island’s interior. I will stop a lot and look at things, all manner of things, many of which may not, ultimately be worth looking at. I will stop in the harbor for whatever food is still being offered for sale. I pray, in my secular way, that clam fritters are still available.

In my ad hoc religious ceremonies, clam fritters are eucharistic. When Del’s frozen lemonade is also present, transubstantiation becomes possible.

This is the closest thing I have to an annual cycling trip, a real ritual, and I look forward to it in those times of the year when things aren’t going as well as I’d like. It sustains me in that small way.

This week’s TCI Friday asks, do you have an annual cycling trip? Do you have rides or events that anchor your calendar and your spirit? Where do you go? Who do you go with? What do you eat?

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