Friday night, when the bell tolls, when the klaxon sounds, when out of offices are posted, when you just chose to damn well leave, whenever the clarion trumpets, signalling the end of one's conscription, you have a choice to make. Some chose the comfortable seat at the bar, exercising their freedom and their liver. Others chose the couch, the well worn arm chair, and the pages of a book, exercising the mind and one's ability to digest an entire pizza. I've exercised both of those possibilities in numerous permutations. But that's not what Friday night's are for. Friday nights are for exercising the legs, the lungs, and the patience of your lady. In short, Friday nights are for riding.
Get on a bike on Friday night and you will quickly see what I mean. Freedom will flow through the holes in your helmet, over your hair, down your back, and form in a cloud of dust and laughter in your wake. Freedom will come out of your water bottle and spill out of the big ass grin on your face, dribble down to your chin and fly off in little droplets. You'll breath freedom in and out with each breath, and as your lungs extract it, it will course through your body, from your brain to your hurting legs. You will be overcome with how incredible it tastes. Not the yeasty taste of freedom at the bar, or the doughy taste of freedom on the couch, but the crisp, savory taste of freedom on two wheels.
It would be cliché to say with every breath you breathe out stresses of the week, but that's not true. They still exist. They can still haunt you on a Friday night ride. But for just a second, to forget about it, to revel in the sensation of flying downhill faster than is wise, to come around a corner in a cloud of dust, to watch the sun drop lower and lower against the horizon, that's what Friday nights are for.
Friday nights are for getting on the bike when it's 92F and riding until it's 72F. Friday nights are for climbing a hill slower than you ever have, huffing and puffing in the heat, laden with a full backpack, clawing against gravity, feeling your back tire slip against the gravel and pushing harder. Friday nights are for descending the backside of the hill and realizing the headwind you've been riding into is now the torrential downpour you are riding in. Friday nights are for riding through all conditions, to the other side of the storm, watching the sun come through those clouds and catching one of those sunsets you have to earn.
Friday nights aren't for taking the main roads, for finding the quickest way between two points. Friday nights are for taking the side roads, and the trails off the side roads, and that road that says "Closed November 1st - June 1st", and that road that says "Private", and that little trail where you have to get off and walk and you're pretty sure it's a dead end but it just might have a siiiiiiiiick view. Friday nights are for peeing off said siiick view and hoping there are no rockclimbers below or bird watchers in the valley with binoculars. Friday nights are for hoping the guy with the menacing looking property isn't home as you sneak across his back yard, and for saying "Is this the right way to Duxbury?" when he is. Friday nights are for riding.
This Friday night was for riding halfway across the state of Vermont to the town where my baby lives for a weekend together. Seeing the biblical storm, she had actually gotten in her car and came looking for me. Luckily there are only a few roads through the 4000' peaks of the green mountains that separate us and she chose the right one. I had no idea she was out looking for me but we met perfectly at an empty swimming hole, just as the sun was setting. After a swim we busted back into town for a table at the local pizza place. #fridayNightzAreForRiding