By Enrique Fernandes
Returning to Woodland unemployed, underwater in student debt and unaccomplished in almost every sense of the word, I didn’t imagine it would be so tough transitioning to the post-graduate life of leisure. Since no job offers with great pay, great benefits and minimal amounts of work required were presented to me after finishing school, I had planned on embarking on an extended break from pretty much everything.
Now, despite having longed for a reprieve from the stress and anxiety that accompanies the life of a student, I found it quite difficult acclimating to the aimless life of languid monotony. Though it was languid monotony I sought after four years of university work, having once achieved it, it wasn’t the panacea I had hoped it to be.
With the disappearance of all deadlines, projects and assignments, which had filled my daily schedule, I assumed all stress would fade along with it. Fade the stress did, but my mind remained unsettled. This relaxation thing didn’t sit as well as I thought it would sit with me.
After spending some time reflecting, I discovered it was recreation I wanted, not relaxation. It was adventure, I concluded, not inactivity that would provide me the tranquility and peace of mind I sought.
So, I decided to completely refigure the laidback plans I had devised for how I would spend my prolonged vacation, but I didn’t have much money to turn those plans into reality. With my ambitions soaring in a direction my savings balance was not, I didn’t have much to work with to obtain recreation or adventure. I was too broke to travel anywhere exotic and too unimaginative to devise some reasonably inexpensive local excursion.
I reached the point of almost giving up on the hope of achieving the excitement and adventure I desired, but then taking up the sport of cycling crossed my mind. It seemed like the perfect activity to supply me with what I was after. The thought of pedaling along miles of country roads and examining territory unfamiliar to me seemed pretty adventurous. It would be a way to get outside the city limits — away from the daily clamor — and reconnect with the countryside I had missed so much.
Solidifying my desire to take up cycling was the relatively light financial burden required to begin. I was able to find a fairly inexpensive road bike at Foy’s Bike Shop, and staying away from any spandex gear helped me trim not only cost, but potential embarrassment.
Within a day of purchasing my road bike, I took my first journey. Heading south on County Road 102, I ended up making a nice 20-mile trip around Woodland. As I began to get more comfortable on the bike, I began myself using it more than just as a recreational toy. I found myself regularly riding my bike to the job I eventually found in Woodland. With the price of gas climbing and carbon emissions growing, it felt good commuting to work in a vehicle other than a car.
The investment I made in purchasing a road bike has paid more than the obvious financial dividends. Cycling has provided me with an avenue to not only escape the quotidian occurrences of daily life, but it has supplied me with an outlet for acquiring adventure and achieving mental clarity.
Having taken numerous rides around Woodland and the Capay Valley, I’ve come to realize that you really don’t need to travel outside of Woodland or Yolo County to experience excitement or thrills. We are surrounded by such incredible natural beauty that I am often reminded of how spoiled we are, as Woodlanders, to be entrenched in the heart of an agriculture epicenter.
By just venturing out around the landscape farmers are constantly cultivating, you’ll find so much uncultivated splendor.