Friday, February 24, 2006

rolling along

So my parents have said on more than one occasion,
"When are you going to stop this biking of yours?"

The answer, of course, is never.

So a few days ago I was in what can only be described as an attitude downward spiral due primarily to stress at work. I jumped on the bike for 90ish minutes and attacked a few hills on the West side. The surliness and frustration exited my body as sweat. At the end of it, my attitude was completely changed. I was a new man. Without the bike, I would have been doomed. There are no reasonable substitutes to the two-wheeled medication. Something like a 90 minute skate-ski suffer fest would have a similar effect but it would be wrapped in an hour drive each way. Going for a little run or hike has some theraputic effect but it's not a powerful enough med to get the job done.

Beyond this mental/physical maintenance that the bike enables, there's the functional bike-as-vehicle part of my riding. Most people have developed a tolerance for and an acceptance of being in a vehicle all the time. It's just part of life. In our house, this tolerance is near zero. We've cleared the cultural head trash on this and we reach for the car keys only when biking is not practical or safe. In our outlook, it's a hardship to take the car versus rolling on two wheels. This concept is hard to grasp when the tolerance and numbness to the car is well established. Supposing cars ran not on petrol but instead ran on grass clippings or random bits of garbage (i.e. an ecologically free choice) I'd still opt for the bike 99% of the time.

And then finally, there's riding as recreation, sport and adventure. All of our elective vacations are bike-centric. Whether it's exploring a country or enjoying a beautiful piece of a mountain trail, two wheels is really the only way to do it. Again, it comes full circle to the bicycle over car preference. If someone were to say, "Yeah, we're visiting [country or place x] and plan on driving here and there and over there." most people accept that as just the way things are done without question. Sure it's probably the easiest but rarely is it the best.

Then there's biking as a competitive sport. This season, I'll be involved in most of these: road stage racing, mountain bike racing, mountain epic racing, road crit, road TT, velodrome track racing, and the perfect winter pastime: cyclocross. Five years ago I raced only mountain bike racing and epic mountain bike racing.

There's more to be said on this topic but I need to go to a coffee shop... where are my car keys?

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