River's Edge August 29, 2012

wait for it...

One of the joys of cycling is finding stuff in the road.  From the saddle, at a comfortable speed, you don’t miss much about what’s going past. As the miles roll by, its mostly just sand, cigarette butts and the random auto parts that come to rest in the shoulder.  Occasionally something shiny will catch my eye and I’ll turn around for another look.  More often than not it will turn out to be a flattened battery or foil blunt wrapper, but I’ve found tools and other interesting or useful stuff this way.

You can learn a lot about where you are by the particular debris you find along the way.  It is the flotsam and jetsam of the present day scuffed and scarred by the speed of the street.  I once had a regular route through an industrial section of town where the diesel-smeared road was lined with junk yards and their nasty dogs behind what seemed like miles of  continuous chainlink fencing.  Over a few months, I collected a heavy string of padlocks and keys that had fallen to the pavement and had been crushed by the many trucks that were too busy to notice and too loaded-down to care.  A particularly hectic section of this same route once turned up half a pair of heavy handcuffs with a badge number and saw marks.  I quickly picked it up, stuffed it in my pocket and made my getaway while 8 lanes of traffic criss-crossed on the highway above.

The wildlife can be counted too.  In the city are flattened the rats and pigeons.  Out in the sticks you see the bloated raccoons and possum kill, their faces always frozen in some fierce expression, perhaps as a warning that danger lurks here.  On the quieter stretches you might scare off an opportunistic raven or vulture picking at the bones in the shoulder.  As you get closer to the ocean are the shrapnell of clams from the seagulls who drop the hard shells from a height to get at the delicacies inside.

So I should not have been surprised when I came across this piece of local flavor while on the road this summer on Cape Cod.  I doubt the tourists in their cars, windows up, AC on, and stuck in beach traffic could have appreciated this as much as I did.  In fact I’m sure  they could not have truely been enjoying that beautiful summer day, the smell of the ocean saturating the cool breeze, the sun warming my arms and legs, and fresh sushi in the shoulder. 

Swordfish steak, if I'm not mistaken.