Solo, but never alone

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Solo, but never alone

With social distancing in place across much of the world and the signs of spring dawning with crisp mornings and sunswept afternoons, I have ventured out with my trusty bike to (safely) set new PRs and regain some of my lost endurace from the winter absent of biking.

My winters are often spent in Northfield MN one of the windiest places I have ever experienced, but after Covid-19 required the movement of classes online I returned home to Ely, as countless other students did across the country.

The 2 weeks of self quarantine were a challenge but necessary for the  community of Ely, and after the 14 odd days I left the house I grew up in with vigour to feel a caloric burn. A quick tuneup after some flat tires and an old chain set me straight and the miles soon glided by. I was a runner and skier growing up and biking has not been a natural sport for myself so the learning curve and development of my skills has been a welcome challenge in my collegiate years, and reflections now show a love of speed I previously had unknown knowledge off.

The wind whipping my face as I glide down asphalt reaching speeds in the low 30s MPH has a sort of rush I have felt but never at such sustained levels as road biking. As a person in today’s world of unknown risks and symptoms, the comfort and relaxation attained by a solo bike and an open road deep in the Superior National Forest has been a time for stress to be released and small joys to be seen.

Solo, but never alone. Not outdoors near Ely anyway.
These new friends practice distancing too.

The privilege to have these open spaces has never been clearer to me and I hope all who are reading are able to find a space to find peace and some form of solitude. 

Simon Stouffer

St Olaf College

Ely Native

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