Last May I did something I never thought I’d do: I bought a road bike. This may not sound like going out on a limb to most of you, but I’ve been a die-hard mountain biker for about 13 years. I love the thrill of screaming down singletrack, exploring the backcountry, and just getting dirty. I simply couldn’t imagine that I’d enjoy road biking all that much. Not to mention, I’m scared of getting side-swiped (or hit!) by a car, and I don’t find hanging out on roads very peaceful.
However, I will admit that winter and mud season are long here, and the mountain biking season is without a doubt short. Here in the high country, we’re lucky if we get 3-4 months a year of dry, rideable trails. Our county has a fantastic bike path system, with over 100 miles of paved “trails”. This makes the road biking season at least 2 months longer than the mountain biking season. They even plow some sections of the bike path in the springtime!
Although I probably won’t ever love road biking the way I love mountain biking, I’ve grown to really find joy in it. Thanks to our great local bike path system, I can mostly avoid roads. I put my music on, and I just go! This year we didn’t get a lot of snow, so they plowed the bike path in late March…although we’ve had snow on and off since then, I’ve gotten out to ride on most nice days. It’s such a nice alternative to my past mud season exercise routine of going to the gym every day!
Anyways, I’ve been working on a series of road biking paintings, inspired by my (relatively) new hobby. It’s been really neat to work on a painting for a bit, go ride, and then come back and paint some more. There’s this cycle of energy that happens: the creative energy from the painting fuels me for my ride, then the physical energy from the ride comes back with me to the easel when I paint again. I especially like to paint right after a ride!
Here’s one of my new paintings, fresh off the easel:
I’ve continued pushing my color boundaries beyond what might be realistic. I think the energy of riding really comes through emotionally in the sky of this painting. What do you think?
Stay tuned – I’ll be posting more cycling paintings soon!