LAURA MADELINE WISEMAN
Commute to work, rally at five, place of occasional foxes, silver fireplugs painted red, digital sign of time and temperature at the second light of five, strength of stop-go traffic watch, cadence and pace of open stretch, that our bodies can do this training daily all summer without fail. Loops on city trails, errands along bike routes of city streets, limestone paths to nearby towns, that someone else’s map followed is easier than plotting one’s own and yet, our story might be our map next to known routes, how we tell the story of the ride. We’ve ridden one-day classics for Kool-Aid, for the cure, for the cured, where everyone gets swag—t-shirt, stein, patch, coupons for theaters, ice cream, buffet line—those rides of rollers, white bucking tent shade of SAG, a weekend of road warriors, squirrels, tourists practicing track stands and tricks. When we started, you said, Who cares? unsure if a hobby could be work’s reward. For months we planned what to do about our car, our dog, the tomato plants out back, if work would wait a week for us to drive to the campsite, to start the ride, to let us have a whole week of bicycles. My job did and then your job did and now, we’ve made it through the first day of miles. There are thousands of tents, a line for the showers, and at the grocery, fluttering tablecloths over folding tables, dozens of chairs. We seek basics—food, water, shower, sleep—the language among new velocipedes.
Laura Madeline Wiseman’s recent books are An Apparently Impossible Adventure (BlazeVOX Books), Wake (Aldrich Press), and Leaves of Absence(Red Dashboard). She teaches in Nebraska. Her collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles), with artist Sally Brown Deskins, is an Honor Book for the 2015 Nebraska Book Award. Her essay on long distance cycling, "Seven Cities of Good," is an honorable mention for the Pacific Literary Review's 2015 Creative Nonfiction Award.