The call of the unexplored road

Saturday was one of those days where you would be kicking yourself if you didn’t get out to ride. It wasn’t a perfect day, but it was a gift in the winter. The unseasonable weather seemed to be saying, “Take advantage of it now because the colder days are coming.”

I suited up and rolled the bike out on the drive. Where to go? At that moment I wasn’t inspired. None of my usual routes captured my interest.

I decided to head out on the Upstate Winter Bicycle League route. It had been well over a year since I pedaled those roads. One hour out and one hour back would be the plan. I’d see how far I could go.

Of course, first I had get through Greenville. That done I started to roll on roads that I seldom ride. Then I started noticing roads going off to my left or right. It seemed they were calling me to avoid the road less traveled and take the one not traveled.

On a lark, I turned right and took a road I had not taken by car or bicycle. I would see where this would lead. The road was rather rough at first, but then I had to make an awkward turn over a railroad track and the road turned wonderfully smooth.

I found I was riding by a rock quarry. The road was nicely graded and smooth. I climbed up and over the top to find I-185 passing over the road. That was kind of a downer, but I knew where I was and decided to head out to Piedmont or Powdersville… whichever it is out that way.

That is when it really got fun. I was turning from this road to that making my way in the general direction I wanted to go. Some of the roads were rough. Some were smooth. A couple were pretty busy, but most of the roads were quiet.

Then I happened upon one of those moments. I had just ridden along a frontage road to I-85 and turned onto one of the only options I had. Not far along this road, I crested a hill to find this scene.

Somewhere in Piedmont
It was one of those moments you love riding the bicycle. It wasn’t just the scene before me. It was the sound — or lack of it. Everything was just incredibly still. Behind me I knew was a busy interstate highway. In front of me I assumed was a number of communities. However, for this moment it seemed I was all alone in the world.

I just stopped and took it in. Peace.

Soon I started rolling again. I had to be back in time for dinner with my parents. That time could be used to find what was around the next bend.

Returning home I found a smile on my face. The ride back didn’t seem to take nearly as long as some hour rides I have taken. A new road is definitely a good way to bring a bit of joy back to your ride!

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About Jonathan Pait

Jonathan started riding mountain bikes in the early 1990s. After discovering the ride can start at the end of his driveway, he moved to the road in 2006. Little did he know that first pedal stroke would lead him on an adventure that has become much larger than the bicycle.