Rides We Like: The Thanksgiving Commute
(2018) Just two days ago I bagged Thanksgiving as a holiday where I commuted to the gathering. It was a nearly-last-minute idea despite the frigid temperature, but I motivated myself to get out the door and enjoy the ride of a point-to-point experience. Some might have stared at the average speed on the Garmin while others may have hammered to the destination in hopes of burning extra calories. I mostly appreciated the empty streets as I wound back road to back road to get to Thanksgiving dinner. Biking to a holiday gathering is something I could get used to.
According to creakybottombracket.com metrics there are numerous international readers. It’s not surprising that many American readers cannot even provide a correct basis for the Thanksgiving holiday. While the roots are laid in 1620 when ‘Pilgrims’ landed in the ‘New World’ the holiday itself was a slugfest prior to the American Civil War. Both the south (Jamestown, VA) and the north (Plymouth, MA) assumed authority over the original Thanksgiving. When the book Of Plimouth Plantation was rediscovered, president Lincoln solidified the northern story of Thanksgiving as fact and established the next-to-last Thursday of November as a national holiday. It was also a time when turkey providers were struggling to maintain their presence in the meat market. The rest, they say, is history.
Scores of traditions, morphed and unrecognizable, evolved into contemporary celebrations that I found myself rolling along tertiary roads to meet up with family for the yearly Thanksgiving celebration. It was twenty degrees out and substantial headwind for the majority of the ride, but I was enjoying every mile of it. It was also to be my most ambitious ride since my last race as an amateur. My back injuries still nag from time to time; my confidence in its success was quite low. I brought my flat repair kit but knew I was going to call for the team car if an issue arose.
As I wound from Bucks County to Montgomery County I realized new senses. I first noticed the newly repaved roads along my route. Roads I thought were consigned to the next year’s resurfacing plan received new asphalt before the cold weather arrived. I rolled blissfully along flat roads to connect with my route. Furthermore I concerned myself with my attire but found the base layers and outer layers up to the task. I bordered on the unexpected edge of being overdressed. Ever present was the smell of oven-cooked turkey, oven baked ham, and I swear I smelled several grills alight with fowl. Considering I brought no nutrition the aromas were enticing. Meanwhile I sighted few cars along my twenty-mile route while taking in the well-dressed attendees carrying their dishes into a dwelling. They looked at me as completely insane for riding in sub-freezing temperatures.
All this I discovered while riding but eventually a connection was made. Two years ago I had ridden on New Year’s Day to retrieve a car from a wedding celebration. Here I was riding to a Thanksgiving gathering. I began to wonder how many fellow cyclists have thought about using the bike as a means of transport on holidays. This meandering thought led to me thinking that cyclists should ride to all holiday gathering. And why not? We are the citizens of simplicity. Sometimes I get a kick out of seeing people’s reactions when the piece together the fact I rode the same route they drove. Why would you do such a thing they might ask? Because I can would be my response. I began thinking of other holidays I could bike to.
I would like to give thanks that I can ride a bike to a gathering location, as corny as it sounds. But I would like to challenge all cyclists to ride to their holiday location (within reason). Perhaps a hard charging New Year’s Eve means the car was responsibly left at a car park. Riding to get it the next morning could be cleansing. The area of creakybottombracket.com is famous for its Independence Day fireworks at Tinicum Park. Why not ride to – and from – the natural amphitheater by skipping the traffic? If it takes the same amount of time to ride a bike as it does a car, shouldn’t enjoyment be taken into consideration?
When compared to the overwhelming presence of motor vehicles, the bicycle empathizes with the 1860s turkey industry. It could use a mainstream jolt to get it back on track. I’m not saying this site is the genesis for it but considering the amount of decrees laid forth on social media asking for turkey-day rides leads me to believe cyclists are dying for purpose on the holiday. With December full of holidays now is the perfect time to outline routes needed to get to a celebration. And when you reach your destination feel free to swipe an extra serving. You earned it because you powered yourself there.