Riding the edge of seasons with Team Brooks Cool Breeze
Team Brooks Cool Breeze retreat away from the heavy trappings of life in 2020 to create their own riding adventure in autumnal Connecticut.
In the modern world, time in the construct of seasons has perhaps never been a more relevant perception. As weeks meld into months, and the ordinary markers of time such as birthday parties and haircuts (not me) evaporate from the iCal; it is only the changing of the seasons we can count on for a vague sense of momentum.
Outside is “in” right now. I suspect I’m not the only one observing the changing of the seasons more closely than ever before as a means of finding solace. There is no better time to ride a bike.
In the United States, this summer was unlike any other in the memory of anyone who was alive to live it. Only baseball star Ted Williams – who was cryogenically frozen in 1967 – could possibly imagine a stranger time; and that’s only speculation.
So, what does it mean now that summer is drifting away, or in some cases closing like an icy guillotine? At the time of writing this story (16 October, to be precise) I have no idea and, honestly, it gives me grave pause to even fully consider what is ahead. We all have strange times ahead and our mental health must be the priority. There is no better time to ride a bike.
Back in July, I was pedalling around with Jason from Brooks in my headphones. Things were partially opening back up, and small congregations, as long as it was outside, were starting to become more acceptable. We wanted to do something with Team Brooks Cool Breeze, if only to get it on the calendar.
“How do we perform our gravel art installations without the invaluable medium of gravel? The answer was simple. We would go out riding in front of a live virtual audience.”
TBCB is about the performance over performance… not to say there aren’t some world class athletes among us. But what do we do when there are no events to peacock our look-book-looks around? How do we perform our gravel art installations without the invaluable medium of gravel? The answer was simple. We would go out riding in front of a live virtual audience. That’s industry talk for “check out my Instagram stories.”
The photos in this set were shot over five beautiful days bookended with the autumnal equinox. The weather each morning was unseasonably brisk, hinting at the long stretch of winter ahead, but we were there to ride for our virtual audience. By noon we were even showing off our summer bods.
The backdrop is my home on the lower Connecticut river valley on indigenous Wangunk land.
Connecticut is a mispronunciation of the Mohegan word “quinetucket” meaning “beside the long tidal river.” The area was colonised 400 years ago by the Dutch and English, although they were never able to bring larger ships into the silty ports along the river’s tidal mouth. Hence, the area has remained rural, preserved, and densely wooded. The meandering roads lined with stone walls are dotted with intriguing vestiges of the area’s puritan past. The gravestones are inscribed with 17th century dates.
Back at the farm we distantly share the warmth of a large fire each night accompanied by the white noise of millions of tree crickets. Stories are expounded, elaborated and elucidated between sips of Connecticut-style hazy IPAs. In these times, the simple acts of camping and riding in the saddle all day with friends are cherished like a perfectly broken in B17 — not to compare friendship to a piece of leather soaked in perineum sweat, but they both offer very intimate connections.
“Stories are expounded, elaborated and elucidated between sips of Connecticut-style hazy IPAs. In these times, the simple acts of camping and riding in the saddle all day with friends are cherished.”
With the band back in the saddle, the early morning sun illuminates the warming tones of the foliage as we pedal onward through densely wooded country roads dotted with old homesteads and antique farms. Aggressive yard signs volley conflicting political messages to their neighbours across the street. Some get ugly.
A canopy of leaves shades us from the warming day as we thud down a boulder strewn carriage road; you can’t help but feel the change in the air as summer retreats. Each coming day will see the forest ceiling burst into vibrant hues of yellow, then orange, red, brown, and finally fall to the ground. The landscape is barren and hints at the soon to be murky darkness of November —snow, slush, mud, a global pandemic—civil unrest—contentious election…climate change…sourdough… There is no better time to ride a bike!
You can catch more of Ultraromance’s Autumn adventures on Instagram.
Team Brooks Cool Breeze Autumn Essentials
More Journeys Stories
An introduction to adventure riding
Joining members of the Birmingham Bike Foundry on their first adventure riding course.READ MORE
To the end of the world
A journey from cosmopolitan Madrid to wild Galicia, the coast of death and the end of the world.READ MORE
The familiar joy of the unfamiliar
Chris Hargreaves and company venture out from Girona on their gravel bikes to explore the unknown.READ MORE