Flower Power

Some days, it can be fun to ride for speed, for the joy of seeming to fly with the wind. But for me, those days can’t compare to the rewards of riding slowly on a warm Spring afternoon, stopping at every bridge to listen to the water, taking pictures of roadside flowers, hearing birdsong, smelling freshly-turned earth: a joyful heart.

Pictures don’t do the rushing streams justice, and video can’t capture the sound of water or birds (at least the pathetic microphone on my camera can’t), and the smell of the earth can only be experienced first-hand.

They may or may not be your thing, but flowers have the power to stop me in my tracks. They are always a favorite photo subject, and one I can’t resist. If you enjoy looking at flowers, I think you’ll enjoy this post, but if not, feel free to skip it entirely.

Roadside flowers have finally begun to appear, which is a time of great joy for this cyclist. They don’t make for a great workout, but they do make for a great ride.

I’ll often stop every 50 feet to photograph a new flower, or get a different look at a variety I’ve already seen. With a group, someone would end up feeling hurried, while others would feel impatient, so a “flower ride” is, almost by necessity, a solitary ride. But that’s OK. I can ride as slow as I like, and stop whenever the mood strikes. It’s better than missing a great shot because you didn’t want to delay the group.

The flowers are mostly small at this point, but will get bigger and showier as the spring and summer progress. Here are some of the one’s I’ve gotten pictures of so far (as always, click the image to see a higher-resolution version):

Field Bindweed

Showy Evening Primrose

Gray-Green Wood Sorrel

Low Hop-Clover

Crown Vetch

Red Clover

Yellow Sweet Clover

Daisy Fleabane

Ox-Eye Daisy

Multiflora Rose

Golden Alexanders

Common Spiderwort

Dame's Rocket

Spider Milkweed

False Indigo

Bush Honeysuckle

A roadside Thistle, not blooming yet, but will be soon.

Mulberries! Looks like there’s going to be a nice crop in a few weeks.

Bike and (unidentified) grass.

Downy Brome

Field Corn and wet ground. We’ve had quite a bit of rain lately. Gravel roads are perfectly dry, but anywhere off-road is a mud-fest.

Alpacas, recently shorn.

A tree-lined lane.

(If I’ve mis-identified any of the flowers or grasses, feel free to set me right in the comments…)

DirtBum Written by:

I enjoy riding bicycles all over -- city streets, suburbia, rural roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, rail-trails, and singletrack. I love exploring the countryside and finding the interesting and historical treasures hidden in plain sight. You can follow my rides on Strava.


  1. Bernie
    May 23, 2011

    I enjoyed looking at your flower pictures. I wonder where you got your love for flowers?

  2. May 23, 2011

    I can appreciate them, but not grow them. Not like you!

    This is my mom (Bernie) with her beautiful garden. It’s like this pretty much every year!

  3. Steve Butcher
    May 27, 2011

    Nice flower photos. Wow, Bernie! You’re a gardener par excellence! Our bike club, Polk County Bike Club in Bolivar, Missouri is having a Wildflower Ride on Saturday, June 4th, on the Frisco Highline trail between Bolivar and Springfield. It is a 100 km ride. If you aren’t doing anything else, you should joint us. I think you’d enjoy it.

  4. May 30, 2011

    Good post, reminded me of why I love riding so much. After the DK200, I am going to take some time to ride again – just for the love of it and not for speed!

  5. June 15, 2011

    Very nice! It’s funny to me at least that I went through a gardening phase a few years ago before I started riding more in the summers, but that yard knowledge has not translated to the flowers afoot out on the country roads. I think I’ll take some of your inspiration.

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