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Autumn amble

Scott glances back as he cruises along a Maine country road.

No longer lonesome

The text on my cellphone read, "Bike tomorrow?" It was music to my ears. After countless weeks of going solo, cycling pal Scott wanted to go for a pedal — and I was pumped. It would be nice "sharing the road" with someone as opposed to just racing vehicles.

We hadn't ridden together since July 17, nearly four months ago. So we had a lot of catching up to do.

Not many topics escaped our attention. While cruising along relatively traffic-free country roads, our subjects included the following: Children. Fake fireplaces. Politics. Retirement. Heat pumps. Iceland and Michigan vacations. Snow skiing. Hiking. COVID. Climate change. Dogs. Bike shop. Siblings. Books. Work. Home projects. Battery-powered mowers. Cars. Personal health issues.

Looking back, the 34-mile ride seemed quite effortless, as we basically chatted the whole time. Which seems kind of surprising, given the fact that I've never been known as much of a talker. Our time on the saddle went fast, even though our bikes didn't seem very speedy.

We unexpectedly encountered the police again. You might remember, Scott and I had a run-in with the Hallowell Police Department during a summer ride ("Guilty ... as charged"). But this time we were on the right side of the law.

Heading home, by way of the Kennebec River Rail Trail, we found ourselves approached by a sheriff's deputy, who was standing off to the side. We both slowed down, looking at each other and wondering if we were in some kind of trouble for a second time. Turns out, the policeman was investigating a report of someone igniting a small fire, and he wanted us to notify him if we saw anything suspicious during our travels. However, we saw no one — and no flames.

Anyway, it was a very uplifting bicycle ride. It was a sunny 64 degrees on a November afternoon, I was riding with a good friend, and I wasn't talking to just myself. I was no longer lonesome.

'Thought for the day'

"Next to a leisurely walk I enjoy a 'spin' on my tandem bicycle. It is splendid to feel the wind blowing in my face and the springy motion of my iron steed. The rapid rush through the air gives me a delicious sense of strength and buoyancy, and the exercise makes my pulses dance and my heart sing." — Helen Keller

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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