Serenity is the open road. I am pretty sure that saying was not originated as a paean to the joy of bicycling, but it is apropos. There are few things more peaceful than finding the right gear and letting the beauty of your surroundings and the rhythm of the wheels and your pedal strokes ease you into a state of mindful mindlessness.
In much the way a ride on a wooded path can wake you to the beauty of your surroundings, a ride on the open road can give you a sense of joy. Unlike the small detailed view that you might get riding through the hemmed in tree lined paths through a forest, a ride on the open road can give you sense of the boundless beauty of wide expanses. A sudden hill on a wooded path will have you focusing intently on where you are going and what might be in your way planning on giving you grief.
Coming upon a downhill on a well surfaced highway is the exact opposite. One quick glance to verify the quality of the road up ahead, and you can lift your head to appreciate the expanse that spreads out before you. An experience like that can make the toil of struggling up inclines on a road all worth it.
A good road trip can leave you open to the world. You start with a map of the day and a general idea of how long it’s going to take to get from your morning departure point to the end of the day rest, and beyond that everything is new. But it’s not really new, because riding on the road is riding on the road, it’s only the surroundings that are varied. And that is the point. The physical effort can be anything you want it to be, and once you enter the place where the effort recedes to the background, it becomes an old familiar friend that just accents the day and the newness.
The road. The woods. They are the same. They bring you out of yourself and into something greater.
Unless of course you are the other kind. Push it to the limits and find the limits of yourself from deep withing yourself.
And that has a beauty all its own.