There have been a couple of times in the last couple of months when my chief memory of the ride was one of enduring quiet.
The first time was during grape harvest season in the South Bay late last year. I was heading home along Mines Road after a long day on the road and I was struck by what I could hear - the distant hum of a harvester, the closer buzz of whatever insects & flying beasties were around, and the sweet, pungent aroma of the grapes as they baked and burst under the hot fall sun.
The second time was diametrically opposite - Mt Diablo, New Year's Day with fog clearing to mist.
And the thing about the quiet is that you don't go looking for it. It just comes. You're solid in the saddle, the gears are shifting the way they should and - especially for me - your joints are neither creaking nor popping, which apparently is the way these things are meant to perform.
The quiet comes inside as well. You might be thinking about the world's greatest address matching algorithm, humming foolish phrases from nonsense songs or thinking about nothing at all. But the result of it all is quiet. And peace.
And if you're really, really lucky this happens when you ride with someone else. She knows who she is. We have ridden through hell together.