All summer and autumn, we’ve been riding our home-built road bikes several times a week. These excursions have usually taken the form of early morning rides—a refreshingly familiar way to start the day, and a good excuse to pick up our little-used camera. Frequently, the outings have been the only time we've spent outdoors, as we've resumed maintaining a ridiculous work schedule in the pursuit of funding our next adventure.
Our summer rides were sunny and hot, though not terribly overpowering if we left early enough. We were usually treated to dewy, relatively cool mornings. Being on bicycles together, breathing fresh air, feeling the weight of our camera slung over one of our shoulders... it unfailingly renewed our sense of adventure about life.
Our favorite discovery of the summer was a veggie stand just a few miles away from home. Having inexpensive garden produce available to us on the honor system has often felt like a small miracle. It meant we could supplement our meager harvest with a bounty, and it that we didn't have to ride into town as often to buy food.
When we weren't in the countryside of central Minnesota, we were traveling to Illinois with our bikes in tow. Cycling in my hometown was a bit less enjoyable than cycling up north, because we had to travel through the ever-expanding sprawl of Champaign/Urbana's suburbia to reach the peace and quiet of its neighboring cornfields. We really are country bumpkins these days!
When we returned to Minnesota, fall had arrived, and with it, an entirely new landscape in which to ride. Farmers had harvested the scrubby blankets of corn once lay across their fields, leaving the land bare and exposed. We nearly cycled past our usual turns on one more than one occasion because the scenery was so different!
Our garden vegetable stand had changed too, moving on from the jalapeños, cucumbers, potatoes, and sweetcorn we'd been enjoying. With autumn taking hold, there were loads of squash available both for carving and cooking—everything from your standard pumpkin, to yellow footballs of pasta-forming spaghetti squash, and from warty, orange "turbans", to the sweetest specimen I’ve ever tasted: the "sweet dumpling."
Autumn is asserting itself more than ever now, presenting us with chilly, drizzly, grey mornings that emerge from pitch-darkness later and later with each passing day. I'm not sure how much more cycling we'll get in before a bitterly cold Minnesota winter arrives. We'll definitely have to bundle up in our warmest layers and switch to our hefty touring bikes if we want to ride after the snow starts flying.