Rides We Like: Continuing REI’s #optoutside Project 2017
(2017) It’s hard to state I am not a materialistic person when the events I’ve done have necessitated some form of equipment. I remember my claims when I played hockey while hoping nobody called me out for having thousands of dollars of equipment surrounding my body. It was besides the point I had worked in a hockey shop – diligently I might add – to obtain the netminding wares. The same is true for cycling. The equipment collected over the years is what makes a campaign like REI’s Opt Outside movement possible.
The movement is designed to prevent people from becoming further absorbed into the shopping frenzy that is known as Black Friday. There are no agreed upon sources for the label ‘black Friday’ though some will state business seek to send earnings ‘in the black’ for the day after Thanksgiving. It has been long considered a bit much upon hearing stories of family members ditching warm Thanksgiving meals in the US to stand in line for a store to open up during absurd hours. All this to get deals we never really asked whether we needed in the first place. Anytime I hear the phrase, “Save an extra…” I think to myself that I could save completely by continuing on my day.
It was between two cornfields on the old standby route along Sweetbriar Road that I found myself on the windy Black Friday and hardly a vehicle in sight. It may not have been the long epic rides of the summer but getting out on a day when others were herding themselves from one deal to the next was what I was looking for. I initially thought to visit a coffee shop but decided that would was too close for comfort for Black Friday. The coffee at home would be just as warm. If REI was not open for that day, why should I seek a business that is while being outside?
During my ride I thought back to the frequency with which I bought hockey equipment and figured the obsession wasn’t to be found in looking current. I simply loved the feel of new equipment. But I also loved the changing of the guard. It mean I played so much hockey that I needed to update my gear. I loved new equipment more so when it was broken in with puck marks smeared all over it. I even got to know the town cobbler quite well to stitch up skate marks.
It’s not that I shun business in general, nor the frequency of visiting a place. I figured to not be obsessed with shopping to the point it absorbs my thoughts. I let cycling absorb my thoughts while I looked outward. I may not have ridden through areas demonstrating the full might of a capitalist society, but I found even more happiness realizing only a few cars passed me by on what was supposed to be a busy shopping day. Perhaps everyone was where they were supposed to be: opting outside.