Cycling Europe Day 33: The Small Stuff

We haven’t yet discussed the bug situation.

I'm starting to think Italians have a thing about leaning towers. The Duomo in Portogruaro.

I’m starting to think Italians have a thing about leaning towers. The Duomo in Portogruaro.

You know how when you’re driving, insects manage to smash themselves in your windshield sometimes? Or how flying geese smash into the windshields of planes? Same thing happens while cycling. Except that it’s all kinds of flying bugs smashing into your face. And if you’re wearing sunscreen, like I do, they stick. Or if you’re breathing with your mouth open, they fly inside. I had a paroxysm of coughing today while cycling because a bug went straight into my windpipe. Sometimes they fly right between the openings in your helmet into your hair. Because I’m camping sometimes on this trip, I’m getting a double dose of bugs. I have to admit I’ve come to like the little critters. They are my company since I’m all alone these days. We’ve figured out how to get along with each other.

In Spain, everywhere I cycled I saw so many little creatures crossing the roads. I would think that if drivers knew what was happening under their tires, they wouldn’t be driving at all. I was constantly swerving to avoid killing bugs and caterpillars. I haven’t seen many bugs on the roads in Italy, though. I wonder if Italian bugs just have more “street smarts” than Spanish bugs by avoiding roads altogether.

I had another road sign situation today. I was cycling out of Treviso and heading towards Portogruaro. The signs said while still inside Treviso that Oderzo, a town en route to Portogruaro, was 24km away and that Portogruaro was 54km away. I thought that was perfect. I’d have a short cycling day again. Couldn’t ask for better. But as I cycled towards Oderzo and got nearer to it, eventually seeing a sign that said it was 19km away, Portogruaro was moving away from me no matter how hard I tried to get closer. When Oderzo was 19km away, Portogruaro was STILL 54km away. It seems that I eventually was able to pick up enough speed to be faster than Portogruaro. It was actually 65km away from Treviso. (more…)

Cycling Europe Day 32: Pooping Planes and Transcendentalness

Not much happened today, to tell you the truth. I had flat roads, thankfully, but 120km

Sunset from my camp in Verona last night. I didn't take any pictures (yet) today.

Sunset from my camp in Verona last night. I didn’t take any pictures (yet) today.

of them. In hot weather. Today I was wondering when cycling 100km starts to get easier. When I said that to my husband in a brief Facebook conversation, explaining that the problem wasn’t muscular but that it takes the energy out of me, he said I’m probably eating into my fat reserves more and more everyday. I think he’s right. I really feel like an old car that’s starting to sputter. I eat as much as I can when food is available, but I’m probably just not eating enough to replace all the energy I expend everyday.

One thing I sometimes struggle with while cycling such long distances is finding ways to occupy myself so I don’t get bored.

For instance, I discovered that I still remember the words to “Bah Bah, Black Sheep” but can’t remember the words to “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. I spent part of the ride today singing Bah Bah, Black Sheep to the rhythm of my pedaling. When I pedaled slowly, I sang it slowly. When I pedaled faster, I sang it faster.

I had a small issue with navigation today. It got me thinking how nice it would be if, whenever I found myself off course for any reason, I could teleport myself back to the spot where I made the mistake instead of having to cycle extra kilometers to fix it. That then reminded me of watching Star Trek as a kid with my father. That then got me thinking about the transponder machine they used in Star Trek for teleportation. When the transponder converts all one’s cells into energy, what happens to the soul? A soul isn’t made out of cells and atoms. Is a person considered alive in the moments while he’s being “beamed”? How does the soul know where to go to reunite with the rest of the body? Does this mean there is no such thing as a soul, seeing that people do become people again once they are beamed? Is the soul a concept people made up to explain something we do not understand about ourselves? I got distracted from this line of thought and then three hours later went back to it and suddenly realized teleportation machines did not yet exist. So maybe we really do have souls.

Remember when I wrote about warning signs: the triangular road signs with a red border? (more…)