Two Miles of Plastic-y Polynylonesterpropylene Twine

I’ve probably said it enough, but I’ll mention once again that I’ve been doing a lot of gravel riding lately. That was my plan again today. I’ve been having so much fun on gravel that sometimes I feel like I’ll never ride my skinny-tired roadie bike again, though, deep down, I know I will because speed is pretty fun too.

I had no intention of making any kind of petroleum-based string-like product the feature of my Cycle-365 post. And I certainly had no intention of showing up Nancy’s plastic twine “Potentially Useful Ejecti” find from yesterday. Things just happen sometimes when one is out on a bike ride.


This kind of scenery is what I intended to feature today.


I was careful to avoid taking pictures of cornfields even though I passed many of them. They’re almost unavoidable on the gravel roads of southern Minnesota.


It was a perfect day weather-wise, and the Air Quality Index was “Excellent.” (I mean no disrespect to all of my Cycle365 friends from California who are not so lucky right now.)

Even along gravel roads you can sometimes find art. In this case, it’s a half-buried Volkswagen Rabbit with flowers planted where the engine should be.


Eventually I ran out of gravel and had to get on busy Highway 55 back to MY Town. That’s where I noticed the never-ending blue and white plastic-y twine. It had been at my side for at least a mile before I finally decided to stop and take a picture of it.

Mostly, it was near the grass at the edge of the shoulder, but sometimes it was right in the middle of the shoulder.


I was amazed at how long it kept going as one long, unbroken string.


I stopped to pick it up and drape it over The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong’s handlebar. At this point I thought it might be interesting to try to reel it in by wrapping it around my wrist. I didn’t do it though, because I had no idea where it started or ended. It might have taken an hour and I might have ended up with an extra 20 pounds of dead weight on my arm.


I didn’t know where the string began, but I sort of wanted to ride back to find out. I didn’t do that, but I was absolutely determined to find at least one end of the string. I didn’t care how far I had to ride to find it. About a half-mile later I felt like I was getting close.

On the outskirts of MY Town I noticed the string was loose and wavy for the first time. Prior to that is was generally pretty taut. Could this be the end?


The end of the line. And I have no doubt that black hand had something to do with this mysterious, long-distance stretch of thin plasticity.


Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

9 response to "Two Miles of Plastic-y Polynylonesterpropylene Twine"

  1. By: Bill Stone Posted: August 29, 2020

    Dude, you have GOT to go back to the other end of the string! This mystery might be related to the UFO in your previous post. The answer is out there!

    • By: gregblood Posted: August 30, 2020

      It’s out there all right, but that sounds familiar. X-Files? Thanks to you and the other folks here, I went out today to find the answer.

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: August 29, 2020

    You may have to pull some strings, but inquisitive minds need to know!!

  3. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: August 30, 2020

    You missed the opportunity to the answer the perennial question ‘how long is a piece of string?’ or maybe that was dental floss for some hideously large teethed creature so get the hell out of there.

  4. By: The Navigator Posted: August 30, 2020

    My thought was almost exactly the same as Lednar. I was thinking your photos were a good metaphor for 2020 – like how long will it take for all the bad stuff to end? Answer: well, how long is a piece of string?

    (I worked with a very cranky old guy in my former job. Nobody liked him and he didn’t like many people at all either. He liked me though for some reason, so I never had issues with him. He was always complaining about our workplace and was fond of saying, “How long is a piece of string?” whenever anyone asked how long a various project would take. He ended up getting cancer, nearly dying and having to retire a bit early. I always had sympathy for his crankiness – his 20-year-old son had died a few years earlier in a horrific car accident and he also had to look after his wife who had some sort of motor neurone type disease and was pretty much housebound and immobile. I figured all of that, combined with our workplace, could make someone a bit cranky.)

    • By: gregblood Posted: August 30, 2020

      I really, really mean it when I say that I love it when you go into story-telling mode. I can really relate to looking a little deeper into the making of a curmudgeon.

  5. By: NancyG Posted: August 30, 2020

    Yes — find the other end, we are all on the edge of our seats!! Oom Pah Pah!

  6. By: BobinVT Posted: August 30, 2020

    I’m casting another vote for finding the other end of that string!

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