Whenever I go riding these days, I’m under a lot of pressure. I feel compelled to be increasing my mileage, so I can improve my endurance. Or trying out new routes. Or increasing my average speed. And I go riding because I need to stay in condition, or to decrease my insulin resistance, or to compensate for the ice cream I had for dessert last night.

I rarely go riding just because I want to.

But I rode to work last Friday, and I will be aggressively riding to work all through September as part of the 2006 Bike Commute Challenge, so when I decided to go for a ride today, I could do so without pressure. I could just ride for the fun of it.

I could just go ramblin’. Because I’m a ramblin’ guy.

So, I rode into downtown Beaverton and checked out the new coffeehouse Ava Roasteria. You can see my comments over at Portland Metroblogs. After that, I rode a few blocks down Hall to The Bike Gallery to get some new cycling socks. Unfortunately, it was closed for Labor Day. No worries, no pressure. So then I pedalled over to the Tualatin Hills Nature Park, although I didn’t even get off my bike there but just circled the parking lot. I came back to Murray and, because I’m just a bit of a masochist, I climbed up and over the big hill on Murray, then came home via Brockman and the Fanno Creek Trail.

When I got home, I was good and hot, so I stood under the oscillating sprinkler in the front yard and let the icy drops of water bring down my temperature a bit.

Labor Day. The end of summer. There’s so much I didn’t get done this year, and soon the rains will begin. As I recall from last year, by the time we reached the end of September, it was already getting dark and cold in the mornings, making it hard to get motivated to keep riding. I’m really not ready for the summer to be over.

Well, at least I’m not going back to school tomorrow. Ha!