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I ride for many reasons: exercise, erranding, the occasional commute to work. But the biggest reason is my connection to people. As an extrovert (although by no means loud), I get energy from others. These days, Covid has made it hard. It’s also made me even more grateful for the cyclists who’ve been part of my pod since March. You know who you are. You kept me engaged with your stories about family and major milestones in your lives. Before the virus grounded us, I even went beyond the Bay Area to check items off my bucket list and seek connections outside my progressive, left-of-center bubble.

After the 2016 election, a sense of urgency came over me to make that happen. In 2017, I did RAGBRAI, that famous, week-long ride across Iowa. I had a great time. Because I was on my own, I interacted with a lot of people. The next year was the Kentucky tour. While I was with a bike club (one of the three I belong to), I was fortunate to ride every day with a bike bud, who had the same openness to locals, many of whom were eager to tell us their stories.

Both tour experiences helped me understand parts of the electorate, and come 2020, they informed my predictions of Senate races in both states. But I have no ambitions to be a pollster. Instead, like a lot of Americans, I want to sew divisions, and biking can make those necessary connections happen.

—Adele Madelo