Most of my rides end with a coffee at a favourite, local cafe.
I frequently ride alone. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy group rides. That is, provided everyone is of similar skill and fitness level. Otherwise, you might just as well ride alone. And besides, riding alone isn’t a bad thing. Yesterday, I posted a SlideShare presentation that listed 7 reasons to travel solo. Well, the same holds true of cycling alone, whether it is an extended trip or a 2-3 hour ride in town.
Most of my rides end at a local cafe where I enjoy a black coffee and a baked good – a muffin or scone usually. JJ Bean and Bean Around The World are my favourite hangouts. They are small, local chains that roast their own beans and have several locations strategically located throughout the city, many of which are conveniently located on my biking routes. I look forward to this post-ride time. And, in particular, I look forward to the new people I meet.
Today, I sat outside next to an older fellow. Older? He was probably my age but I digress. He had a brush cut, a closely cropped, white beard, Bose headphones, an iPad on his lap, Ortlieb panniers at his side and a touring bike resting against the window behind him. I thought he was on the road touring down the coast to Oregon and California. He looked the part. Relaxed. Content. And, not rushed. You know the look.
I was wrong. He was simply out for the afternoon. His daily ritual. He is a retired academic, elects to cycle around the city for several hours every day and, like me, ends every ride with a coffee.
I thought he was playing a game on his iPad. His fingers rythemtically danced across the iPad. But no. He was composing music using a new app he discovered called Geo Synthesizer. We chatted some about music, technology and macro economics before he carefully packed up and cycled off to purchase food for dinner with his wife.
It was a short encounter. Although we apparently have a lot in common, we made no plans to meet up again. No. It was one of those fleeting encounters that gets you thinking, questioning what you are doing and wondering what you might do next. I liked this fellow. I liked the way he chooses to spend his time. To explore. To create. And, to cycle.
Is this what retirement might look like?