BikeLife: Eye of the Storm

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“Remember when “X” was such a good magazine?” she asked. (Insert legendary high society magazine.) Tossing a recent copy of the said magazine on a small table she added “That was simply the worst I’ve read in a long while.” Yes, “X” magazine, like many of the world’s best publications, are a shell of their former self. Divested, ignored, slashed, and burned into digital editions and the nonsense of the online world.

While the outside world rages with budget cuts, attention cuts and the culture of the admired it can seem like things are at an all-time low, and perhaps they are but there is another world untouched by the noise. The physical world of you and the simple means of survival. Oxygen, blood flow, and exertion.

Yes, my friends. Get out there and forget about the rest for a minute, or two, or an hour or day or week. Pedal. Just go ride. Everything else drops away because your life depends on sensory application. Sound, sight, and effort. You will forget the phone, the laptop, the Internet, and the idea that every movement needs to be quantified.

Need data analytics? Sure. Easy. Are you still upright? Happy? Still breathing? Legs and lungs burning? Is that enough? When does the online world surpass the real world? How about never? But here is the part that might rankle those with long nails and soft bodies. You are going to get dirty, sweaty and will need a wash from time to time.

The tradeoff? Your human skills will return ever so slowly. Eyesight improving as rarely used micro-muscles return to form catching slight movements and small patterns, skills that have kept us alive for centuries. Shoulders and backs will straighten. Legs will require more effort to stuff inside of skinny jeans.

The danger comes when the mind finds that place of clarity only discovered in moments of singular, physical effort. A warm place of endless potential and no reprimand. A place of free thought, breakthroughs, and transcendence.

Yes, the world edges toward the cliff but walking to the edge with the crowd won’t help. Go alone, at least for a while. Flying solo through effort and focus will lead you to where you need to go.

Comments 8

  1. If you can’t ride, walk, or do something outdoors in the fresh air for a prolonged period of time on a regular basis. I can’t ride (safely) anymore, but I can walk briskly in the fresh air around a lake where I live. I can smell the trees and flowers, listen to birds singing, and remind myself that the real work doesn’t watch/listen to media 24/7. Listen to nature instead, Just get outside, anywhere for as long as you can, without any tech.

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      Right on Alan. That’s how I feel. Whatever you have, use it. If you can go, go. Large, small, exotic, mundane. No matter. Look for detail.

  2. Anything I might add would just be “more of the same” so just one word: YES.

    Oh but I must add: 6 hours of cleaning some 18 cubic meters of leaves from the ground works quite well, too.
    But tomorrow – we ride!

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  3. Solo is still the game for a while in 2020 and 2021. I hope I can cope with the strange phenomenon called “group” later on. A nice bike ride is indeed a reset of all senses and emotions for me.

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  4. Dan,
    we live in Belgium. We are thrown in a soccer “team” or in a “peloton” aka “group” of cyclists the moment we can walk or cycle. The bunch, oh yes, It’s an odd beast.
    Group riding is a culture we Belgian cyclist mostly cannot escape from. It’s our social network. It’s our family. Group riding is confining and also liberating. It’s escaping. We have a group the moment we are with 3. Two is a duo and for social cycling yields in the outmost high quality ride: there’s always verbal connection, always symmetry, in line or lateral positioned.
    But: in a group of 3 (or 5 or 7 or 9) there’s the asymmetry, there’s almost always a duo verbally connected in the group of 3 (or more duo’s in a bigger uneven group). Then for me the magic happens: you rotate front to back and you are completely alone over there in the back of a group of 3. The slipstream as support, as a free gift. Support but no connection.
    And that’s what I’m terribly missing these days: being alone and quiet in the back of my cycling group.

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