January 19, and it’s 61 degrees? Damn right I’m going to take advantage of the weather! My sketchbook and I pedaled 17 miles out to Smithville Lake, then took the bike path another ten miles or so. I had to dodge large patches of ice covering many of the northern-facing hillsides, which really translates out to: “push my bike and attempt to stay upright.” I took a break along the way to make this sketch, finding a bench that blocked the brutal winds coming across the water, then turned around and pedaled home.
It’s been a few weeks since I last posted anything new to The Early Morning Cyclist and I’m kind of going out on a limb here. I’ve always found it very easy to document my cycling journeys and experiences on two wheels with the camera – very easy indeed. I photographed professionally for many years and even though that is no longer a part of my day-to-day career, using a camera is, nevertheless, a very immediate process. What has bothered me a little bit over the past couple of years is the loss of tactility in my work. I carry a sketchbook and it is almost cathartic for me at times to simply lay lines down on the page, to capture some element of where I am at a particular moment or what I am doing there. And it occurs to me that is precisely the same motivation for this blog.
So I say that I’m going out on a limb. And – at least for the time being – my plan is to skip photographs as the main visual graphic for each entry in The Early Morning Cyclist. Instead I’m going to try to illustrate my point – presuming I actually have one, of course – with sketches made on the journey. Even a quickly scribbled sketch means studying my subject for longer than 1/60 of a second. Savoring the minutes, the place, the time.
And if that isn’t at the heart of why I cycle in the first place, I don’t know what is.