Commuting by way of the Pumpkinvine
[The following article by Buddy Dyck will be in the March Pumpkinvine Trail Talk.]
If you had occasion to ride the Pumpkinvine this past autumn in the so-called rush hours of the day, you would likely have met Matt Lind, on his 1972, 40-pound, Jacquef Anquetil two wheeler on his way from Goshen to Northridge Middle School in Middlebury where he has been teaching for some 20 years. There was a time when Lind wondered if that Pumpkinvine Nature Trail would ever become a commuting option for his trip to work since it had been in the making for so many years. However, this past year, that option became possible when another phase of the trail was completed between County Road 28 and County Road 33.
“I had done some minimal commuting to school,” Lind said, “but I found that County Road 22 between Goshen and Middlebury was unsatisfactory for a number of reasons: traffic quite fast, very little brim. I continue to use that road when I’m in a hurry because it cuts several miles from my commute. The biggest difference between County Road 22 and the Pumpkinvine is that the county road is a way to get to work, while the trail is a destination in itself.”
When he started riding the trail to work, Lind had little intention to make it a daily commute, but after just a week or two of commuting, the ride proved increasingly doable and even exhilarating. Ultimately, after spending a day in a school classroom, he started to anticipate the ride for the relaxation it provided.
“The trail always offers something new to experience, whether the changing colors on trees or fields, or the activity on adjacent farms, or Amish children in their school playground who stop to wave a greeting as I pedal by,” he said. “You don’t get this experience when commuting in a car.”
Lind had intended to commute only as long as the temperatures remained above 50 degree, but he realized that he could handle 30- and even 20-degree chill, too. But with the coming of the snow, Lind put enthusiasm on hold to await the inducements of the spring melt.
What are Lind’s lasting memories of these 40-plus commutes along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail? The constant changes of scenery, the beauty of the environment, the peace and quiet away from the noise of traffic, and the shock of deer exploding up and across his path to mention a few.
But whichever direction he pedals, Lind claims, “The commute is always new.”