On Riding a New Road Just Because of Its Name

Leah Flickinger
·1 min read
Photo credit: Bicycling
Photo credit: Bicycling

From Bicycling

There’s Axe Handle and Sweetbriar, Elephant and Gallows Hill. There’s California, Peppermint, Frogtown, and Fink. These are the names of a few of the roads that have enticed me off a planned route and onto the unknown. Names with a through-the-looking-glass allure of an undiscovered place to ride.

Sweetbriar wound sinuously through oak-dappled meadows. Frogtown and Elephant unfolded with staccato rollers and wild undulation. Axe Handle sliced through a shady wood on a sweltering day, while Fireline exploded into wide-angle vistas of leaves ablaze. Not every chance I take is rewarded. (California, it turned out, is popular with cars.) Most times, though, these little detours leave me wondering why I passed them by before. Most times, they mute decisively the portions of the ride that came before them.

But every single time, these spontaneous diversions have recharted the path I set out to take. And perhaps even more than that, they have reminded me that when I ride, one unexpected turn has the potential to change everything.

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