Natchez Trace Parkway in Franklin, Tennessee 09.JPG

The Natchez Trace Parkway

I was one of the millions of Americans who started riding a road bike last year. When the pandemic shut everything down I pulled my dad's 1980s steel-frame out of my crawl space and started cruising up and down narrow roads like Edmondson Pike that are normally impassable because of traffic. That car free paradise didn't last though. By summer I had to go further afield to find new places to ride. That's when I discovered that the Natchez Trace Parkway was the surefire cure to pandemic induced cabin fever. It's impossible to think about a virus when you're screaming down a hill at 40 mph, or when your legs are screaming at you for riding back up the hill at 4 mph. The endless winding asphalt and wide open fields of the Natchez Trace are the antithesis of binge watching Tiger King from my bedroom. The view from the bridge of a gorgeous fall day — an impressionist masterpiece in every possible shade of red, yellow and orange — is an antidote for hours of “doom scrolling,” the self-destructive practice where you scour social media sites for confirmation that the world is indeed ending. The coronavirus shrank my world dramatically; the Trace was one of the first things that made it feel big again. For that, I'll always be thankful. MATT BLOIS