Yesterday I got to break in Mick’s new Hope Springs Eternal, a 140K from Raleigh’s Cameron Village to Spring Hope, down east. The route is the latest of several permanents that start in the heart of Raleigh. No car ride required – just fill the bottles, pack up and head out the door.
Rides that start in the city’s core invariably require some urban/suburban riding before you hit the sweet spot of North Carolina cycling – those thousands of miles of largely forgotten rural roads.
At one time those roads linked hundreds of thriving crossroad communities, but in many of those places the merchants fled a generation ago. The businesses left behind have weathered siding and boarded up windows and thick weeds in the parking lots. Many of the nearby homes and outbuildings have been surrendered. It’s just a few rotations around the sun before they are overrun by scrub brush; vines climb the chimneys and pull them down.
I marvel at so much forfeited enterprise, so many abandoned dreams. A few post-apocalyptic survivors are out there still, fighting the tide on riding mowers. We wave and nod, we’re all in this together. Living may be serious business, but hope springs eternal, the dream is still alive and look at me I’m riding a toy.