A Harvest Ride


Prior to moving to Michigan I found joy in riding my bike on the gravel forest roads and two-track trails in the mountains near my home in western Pennsylvania, and thought little joy could be had from rides that left me with total elevation gains of less than 1,000 feet, and offered nothing but flat, panoramic views of corn, wheat, beans, corn, beans, and corn. Did I mention there were corn and beans?

However what I have found over the past six years of living here in central Michigan is that much can be had from those rides, and that I have grown to love them as much as, if not more, than those weekends exploring roads and trails in the mountains.

One of the major reasons I love riding these road is the ease in which I can do so. Back in Pennsylvania I needed to drive 45 minutes or more to get to the mountains, for many of my rides here in Michigan I am riding gravel after just 1.25 miles of easy spinning pavement.

I will always be a sucker for hills and mountains, but I have truly grown to love the peacefulness of riding through the rural farm lands here. Often the only sounds I hear are the birds chirping, the bugs bugging, the ever-present wind, my tires rolling over the dirt beneath me, and the squeak of the chain that I no doubt failed to lube. I’ve also become more aware of the farming process that I witness several times a week, and admire watching the process of prepping, planting, maintaining, and harvesting the fields that encompass the roads I ride.

One time of year that is not quiet, but still therapeutic in its own way, is fall harvest. Roughly every other mile you will hear the cacophony of gigantic combines harvesting corn and beans, and emptying the bounty into large trucks to be hauled away to grain elevators and farms. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a man, and by law have to like big, loud motorized machines, and all that manly stuff, or that seeing the harvest is the completions of the farming process I’ve witnessed throughout the year, all I know is that I like it.

On a damp and foggy ride earlier this week with my Nikon D7100 I captured the series of photos below that sum harvest time here in my part of Michigan. Absent from this set of photos is one of a truck driver whom I pulled over for near a stop sign. As I stood in the wet grass along the road, I looked up and he gave me a wave of thanks for letting him. No thanks was needed of course, he’s the one in a giant trailer truck filled with two tons of corn, not me! Of course it would have helped if I had actually taken that photo, oh well, the memory is nice.

Thanks for looking at the photos.





















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