Editor’s note: By law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers when sharing roads with vehicles. Partake responsibly, and know the municipal laws where you are riding.
As we sweated through our bike jerseys, my friend Sean mentioned that this is the first time he has ever understood this city. We had just biked 12 miles, out of Denver, past Glendale and into the scant suburbs. The edibles had only taken forty-five minutes to hit.
We slowed our pace, shifted gears and started to talk. For Sean, the edible, although heavy in his body, enabled him to gather his bearings and take the time to notice where he’s now living. Denver isn’t so bad, he said, only aimless, its malls and tall story buildings strung along the Front Range seem completely unconsciousness of the beauty they inhabit.
Sean is, as some people call it, a new age guy — he’s into séances, yoga and smoking weed while practicing mixed martial arts. He prefers slow-moving indicas, something he knows takes the edge off his clinically diagnosed ADD. He says he can visualize himself playing sports better when he is high, and on this day, he mentions how he sees himself taking the corners on his aluminum bike before it even happens.
For the first 6 miles or so we charged hills, and pedaled past traffic — a pregnant cyclist, teenagers with fishing poles and swarms of high-end carbon fiber bikes with their riders catching a draft. It wasn’t until we reached the city outskirts that the edibles, which we had only briefly nibbled on, sent the mechanics of our bodies into a halt, propelling a shift in sensation and perception. The pain I had felt sitting on my bike seat just a mile earlier melted away. Our pace slowed. We were in the middle of nowhere, near an abandoned auto body shop along the Cherry Creek Trail.
Cycling high had been one of our favorite activities when we lived in Fort Collins together, prior to Sean’s move to Portland, Ore., until just a month ago since his move back to Colorado. We would pack bowls in the summer evenings and bike into the city as the sun faded over the mountains. There were moments when our highs mixed with the fast movements of our road bikes for a near out-of-body experience. I always remember Sean lifting his head, eyes on the road, taking the breeze full on his face.
Pedaling can become a rhythm you lose yourself in, and before you know it, miles have passed, landscapes have changed and you haven’t been thinking about anything. No job, relationship or finances.
The only issue I do have with biking high, especially on edibles, is the tax the weed can take on your body. There’s a looseness in your joints that seems fit for a couch, rather than the slender rubber pad of a bike seat. When I compare it to tennis, which is my choice sport while high, biking seems slower and the lack of full-body motion tends to leave my legs numb in rotation, and the rest of my body feeling sluggish.
As we headed back toward downtown Denver, the high faded slightly and with our blood pumping our minds swept clear. I mentioned to Sean that I felt tired. That the edible had worn me down. With the sun setting we stopped for a drink of water. Sean wiped his brow, zipped up his bike jersey, and with the weed fading in our bodies he told me something he’d heard while living outside of Portland in the woods.
“Maybe we aren’t tired, maybe we are just the most relaxed we’ve ever been.”