Mustard Fields

Ramal Road, Sonoma, CA mustard fields February 2015

Ramal Road, Sonoma, CA mustard fields February 2015

Saturday bicycle ride near the southern borders of Sonoma and Napa Counties. The fields were alive with workers pruning the still-dormant vines, mustards flowering at full bloom, and Acacia trees lining the roadways. We encountered early spring riders, from the weekend tourist with townie bike and guide to the serious bicyclists finally shedding their long tights, arm warmers and bootie covers to protect against the winter wind chill now resplendent in colorful (yet advertisement-laden) full kits.

We registered for Cycle Oregon’s full-week bicycle ride in the Wallowa Mountains/Hells’ Canyon area of northeastern Oregon and western Idaho for September. My bicycle riding needs work as the longest ride in several years has only been a short, slow 25 miles. We’ll be riding 380-450 miles in six days so I have a long way to go to be properly prepared. But we’ve wanted to join this group for years and to have an opportunity to bicycle in the areas where my family camped, hiked and skiied when I was young is exciting.

For now, learning the country roads around Sonoma is a pleasure: new vistas, green farmlands, stately oaks, perky daffodils, spring lambs, and warmth on my arms. Some days the Swiss-red urban bike is my source of movement; when I need help up the steep hills arising from the valley floor the 28-speed with clip-in pedals is the better choice. Regardless of the means of transport, riding reminds me of childhood, racing with my brothers and sisters and neighbors on our streets and rolling hills of rural southeastern Washington, the wind in our hair, a sandwich in our pocket, no thought of bicycle helmets, but always admonished to wear shoes!