PNS tekst - bearbeidet 2019
Sweden in April. A little cottage in the woods, en röd stuga as the swedes call it. Waking up early. The sound of a sleeping house, a dog barking, muted, on the farm next to us and a few optimistic birds chirping is the only contentum. I add to the noise when putting on the coffee-machine. The smell of coffee will soon wake the others, still sleeping, above.
As I bring the coffee, and some chocolate - a bad habit of mine, out on the porch, I see the mist hovering over the fields. Lighter and lighter minute by minute until it has vaporized. I haven´t even finished my mug of coffee in that time, and I say to myself; this will be a good day.
Our bikes lined up next to each others, like horses in a stable. Made of steel, carbon and titanium and still covered in morning dew. Cleaned, oiled and adjusted for another day on gravel and swedish, frost-heaved tarmac.
Frost heaving, («Tele-hiv») is when the tarmac is being lifted by the frozen soil underneath during the winter. When it melts during spring, it leaves cracks and holes in the road that can be a real challenge.
We fight it off with 28mm tires and low tire-pressure.
I pick up my iPhone (- the best camera is the one that´s with you), and I take a few pictures of the landscape. The pictures don´t need any filters to look altered; the colors of the late scandinavian spring are … pale. The grass is not very thick yet and has a light green hue, almost opaque. The wheat has just started it´s journey from through the soil and towards the sun. The leaves on the birch-trees are just slowly folding out, a strong light green color filled with what can only be optimism.
Pale is also how I look and feel when I get back in and I see myself in the mirror. A double espresso while eating a bowl of porridge brings the pink hue back to my cheeks.
Everyone is awake. Some eating, some checking mail, weather or instagram. Preparing the kit, long legs or just knees? Gloves or not? Routine-stuff. There is low chatter and a relaxed sensation before the next stage of our trip.
We leave our rented röda stuga when the first drops of light rain falls. It doesn't bother us, we know that these Scandinavian spring-days often bring all four seasons in one day.
Every trip has an end. We know where we will end up. And yet we don´t focus on that. We have talked amongst us of how we find pleasure in «just riding”, independent of a "need to reach the goal». On the bike , moving through rolling and ever changing landscape I am reminded of how Rosseau describes his hiking. How the swift movement gets the thoughts flowing, gives them courage and space to go beyond the constraints and limitations we give so often give them;
When I am in one place I can hardly think at all. My body has to move, to be in movement, for my mind to work. The sight of the landscape, lovely, changing views around every corner, being outdoors, a healthy appetite and the good health the hiking brings me. The good atmosphere in an inn, the absence of everything that reminds me of my dependencies, of everyting that reminds me about my situation - all of this frees my mind so that I can let my thoughts flow freely, with more courage and I can combine, sort and make them my own, without any fear or limitations.
Rosseau writes this about hiking. It could just as well been about biking. The flow of thoughts, a stream of consciousness and free associations. I can think about the Fibonacci-numbers because we talked about sunflowers last night, and then next second I wonder what to eat tonight.
Sometimes, riding alone with no one to talk with, I can hardly remember where I have ridden, or what has happened. My thoughts have flown, meanings, insights, interpretations of thoughts and ideas have come and gone. Very often I don´t remember a whole lot of that, but I have experienced that what stays in the back of my mind after such rides, are the important things that will come out later. Be it decisions I have to take, ideas that are worth trying or just a solution to a practical problem at home.
Time to ride. We head out of the woods and the gnarly roads. There will be chatter, there will be silence and our thoughts will flow. Freely and without limitations or fear on a road to nowhere.