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The White Line to Denver, excerpt 2

April 4, 2017

While attending Bowling Green State University I majored in physics, and my favorite topic was astrophysics. The enormity of the Universe is a concept that is difficult for almost anyone to grasp. Realizing that a million earths can fit inside the sun makes one begin to grasp the smallness of the planet we live on. Further, to think on the billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy alone is even more staggering, not to mention what might be beyond our galaxy, and the vast empty regions between galaxies. When I think about these things, I am even clearer in my thinking about how tiny we as humans are in the scheme of all of these planets, stars, and galaxies. No more significant than a grain of sand on a beach really.   And I’m talking about a really big beach.

But wait, back to bicycles.

I mention all this universe thinking because it makes me understand how truly lucky I am to be alive, lucky to have been born in the United States, and lucky to have a job that allows me to ride when and wherever I want to go. Ride bicycles that is.

It didn’t take me long to scout out the best places to ride in BG (this is what the locals call Bowling Green). One of my favorite places to ride were the back roads that crossed Route 6, a west to east road that is a corridor from the west coast in Bishop, California to Provincetown, Massachusetts on the east coast. The stretch of Route 6 in Bowling Green is mostly a trucking route. One of my favorite games, albeit dangerous, was racing trucks coming down Route 6. I’d ride from my apartment on West Wooster to Liberty Hi Road. Liberty Hi crossed Route 6. I could see this intersection from quite far back on Liberty Hi, maybe from 1,500 feet or more because of how flat the land is. The traffic on Liberty Hi had a stop sign; traffic on Route 6 did not. Yeah, I’d stop. In your dreams.

What I took great delight in was racing trucks to the intersection. You’re right if you are thinking this was dangerous. But there it is. This is the kind of thing that got my blood racing when I was in college. I’d cruise down Liberty Hi and scan ahead for trucks coming down Route 6. When I saw one that looked like it might reach the intersection at the same time as me, the race was on!  I would stand up and start cranking, throwing the bike back and forth.  I’d tightly hold the handlebars, pulling on them as I cranked down. Even my chest muscles came into play, tightening as I gave the bike my all. At the same time, I’d closely monitor intersection because even though most of the trucks were east bound, occasionally there would be a west bound one as well. I sure didn’t want to get blindsided by a truck traveling in the opposite direction.

If a trucker gave me a warning blast with his horn that was a good thing because it told me he was watching me. While there were more than a few times I pissed off a trucker, I’d almost always win. Of course, if I didn’t think I was going to beat them, I’d slam on the brakes! While I was into the danger element of this game, I wanted to live to play again the next time.

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