Long summer bike ride
Happy Birthday Greg Polakoff
Today was unambiguously the first summery day in Oxford. As seemed to befit it, I went on my longest bike ride so far: 42.6km from Oxford to Blenheim Palace and Woodstock, then back via Kidlington. I've heard that Blenheim Palace and gardens are really nice, but I definitely wasn't willing to pay eleven Pounds to get in. Instead, I found a shady spot outside Woodstock and read Kerouac's On the Road for a few hours. While sitting in the shade, molested but unbitten by flies, I actually saw what I can only conclude was a pheasant: a big, red, darting sort of bird that ran off and hid when I tried to photograph it. I also saw huge numbers of cow, sheep, and horses - as well as rabbits and lots of birds.
After leaving Woodstock, I found the road between Kidlington (which is on the way to Oxford) and Deddington (which I walked to one night). Once I realized that Deddington was a further nine miles from where I found that road, I veered off eastwards and found the much smaller town of Tackley. Throughout the ride, there was nice countryside. It would have been perfect but for the strangely insistent sun and the truck that caused me to slam my hand against a metal fence by not signaling when it was exiting from a roundabout. If I hadn't checked, it would have been overall splattering from under-correction, rather than one nasty bang from over-correction.
I am enjoying On the Road. It has what I would call a Catcher in the Rye narrator: someone focused on being self-sufficient, somehow outside the system, but still caring and generous. The book makes me want to take another road trip in the US.
Instead, I should spend the rest of tonight burnishing thesis ideas for presentation to Dr. Hurrell tomorrow.