Day 14: Biking to Shreveport

By Kristi Bowman

I’m sitting out on the back porch of the volunteer center here in Shreveport, Louisiana listening to the cicadas saw out their evening rattle-tunes. The sun is setting beyond the hills of this porch and slowly, slowly the world is turning from day to humid, southern evening to dusk. It’s been a long week, but we have arrived somewhere… again. It is good. Tonight we get real-for-sure bunk beds to sleep in complete with fresh sheets and fluffy blankets. And we get to sleep in those same bunk beds for three whole nights in a row! The greatness of this fact is really indescribable. Also, it is great that I probably won’t need to sit on my favorite bike saddle for another two whole days before we ride again. I do love my bike so, but "Charley" and I do a little better when we have some alone time now and then. True story.

It has been quite a week… heck, it has been quite the last 14 days. I can hardly believe that two weeks ago today we started riding together as a group of Fuller Center Bike Adventurers and, by now, we have ridden almost 900 miles from Savannah to Shreveport. Just to keep things in perspective, the total mileage of all of my training rides from January to the start of the ride on June 8 came to a grand, amazing total of 1,383 miles. Soo… (if all goes as planned) I will have surpassed that amount by sometime around… oh… July 1. That is a whole 5 months of riding squished into 3 fabulous weeks. Woah. Thunder thighs here we come! (and dearest, loveliest knees, please hang in there. I believe in you!)

Alright, well I think I am past-due for writing another poem, so here are the rough scratchings from my soul this evening. I hope you all had a lovely Saturday and that your Sunday affords you rest. Peace to you!

Biking to Shreveport

The sun is dipping down beyond

the hills of this porch and slowly

the world is turning from day to dusk

to slow southern evening: thick and

velvety-dark as sweet, sweet tea.

The moisture-laden air is laced through

with rattle-tunes of 17-year cicadas

and the brush of wind. To travel

is to make your home anywhere, any

corner in this softened world.

Tonight it is a top bunk that rocks

when I climb the ladder and cradles me

afterwards like the softest nest or the way

cypress trunks nestle into the waters of

the bayou. These days the breath

catches a little in my throat and pauses

at the gracious c-curve of a great

white heron and the way she rises

from the water like praise ahead of

the moving green and blue.

I wonder at the way she lives forward –

looking only at the cattle grazing or

the reflection of sun on water or perhaps

at the sight of her own shadow.

I marvel at patience and the trust

it demands – waiting, moving one

foot forward with all the resolve of

your very best day. And then moving

the other. This is the only way anyone

gets anywhere worth going, really:

Start something. Continue to move

until someday you glance back and

notice the miles stretching behind you

like ribbons in every color imaginable.

So bright you forget every cramp in

each muscle of your thigh. See the night

sky is navy now, stretching down to cerulean

on one horizon and chocolate on the other.

Nothing, nothing is more precious than

this sky and these feet and the road ahead.

One of the many reasons why bikes rock: Bridge out? No problem.



  • What a beautiful, peaceful, nature-appreciating poem! And what a wonderful ride! (from a friend of Annette, who is the mom of one of the riders)

  • Thanks for riding and for writing such a beautiful poem. I felt as if I was enjoying the evening with you as I read it.

  • You go girl!! You look like you could be operating that Komatsu!


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