I found a way to travel internationally during a COVID epidemic. Forced to lock down for 8 months, Ruth & I have both gained weight and avoided the gym. We found a solution during a sale. Pelotons were reduced in price, so we bought an exercise bike that offers a lot of scenic rides while we pedal away.
Yesterday in a 70 minute ride I went to Costa Rica, Bavaria, and Switzerland. I have bodily been to all 3 places but never to Alajuela, Bad Aibling, and Bern. Now, in a way, I have seen all 3 places in considerable detail. Ruth and I journeyed to Costa Rica last year and saw a lot of rainforests, but we didn’t go northwest of San Jose to Alajuela, Costa Rica’s 2nd city, and take a rainforest topping walk or tromp through the jungle on a boulder-strewn trail in humid conditions. Yesterday I did both and more, and the 45 minute video I watched ended on the brink of a volcano. It was so realistic that I feel I’ve been there because I was peddling the whole time and didn’t trip on an exposed root one time. I went from a rainforest to the Bavarian Alps south of Munich, a city I loved, motored through a spa town, and saw towering peaks. I finished in Bern, Switzerland’s 4th largest city and its capital. As I was moving along the Aar River, it occurred to me that I have physically been to Geneva, Sion, and Zurich but never to Bern. Now I have seen a lot of it by cruising its streets and seeing its churches, stores, government buildings, and many bridges over the Aar that flows in a big circle around it. I have now lost about 12 pounds of COVID flab.
The Peloton allows me to visually experience some places I have never been to in remote Patagonia, distant Taiwan, and incredible but troubled Italy. The bike takes me nostalgically back to the familiar streets of Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and Nanaimo and to places in all 3 destinations that I have never experienced. For example, even though I have been on a ferry unloading there, I didn’t know that Nanaimo had such a fine harbor with many walkways because I was so focused on devouring a strictly local Nanaimo Bar. I have never been to Taiwan, but now I have passed many Taiwanese people enjoying its gardens and temples, and I feel like I’ve been there.
Some of the rides take Ruth & me on walks through tropical parks. Others take us along highways in cars that go through mountain towns with bikers passing us regularly. I have now been to the scenic overlook of Hell’s Canyon in northeastern Oregon in my home and in a vehicle. I didn’t exactly know where Trento was in Italy, but now I have experienced it and have no need to go there. I have walked through the treacherous canyon in Zion National Park and been on it via an exercise bike. I have seen the incredibly beautiful Columbia Scenic Gorge many times, but I’ve never seen it as intimately as I did from my Peloton.