What has the bike taught you? What is it that keeps you going when you’re on the rivet, in the red, on the limit?
The bicycle can be a difference engine. You move its pedals. It yields information. It’s a tool for taking you to that place right at the edge of what you’re capable of, forces you to acknowledge your limits, like a spoonful of castor oil for the soul. As we push on into the suffering we learn more and more about who we are. We become more comfortable with paradox and uncertainty. We gain more specific data about the mathematical location of our breaking points.
Your bits of wisdom included some real gems this week. Everyone said something I could identify with. The ones that stuck out for me were:
randomactsofcycling said: “Success is a consequence and should never be a goal.”
James said: “I can exceed the limits I think I have.”
dacrizzow:” I HAVE NO CHOICE. For whatever reason, it motivates me in all of my life activities, and i don’t question it.”
Mike: “Cycling has taught me patience, perseverance, humility, self control, and to appreciate (beauty, limits, strength, solitude and friendship, the little things).”
Amityskinnyguy: “It has taught me that it’s OK to act like a kid sometimes.”
I like to get all philosophical about it and try to string a bunch of pretty words together, but another thing the bike has taught me, especially when I’m straining at the leash, is to take myself much, much less seriously.
I am not fast. I am not strong. I am not cool. I am not PRO. These are truths that help me in the rest of my life as well.
I am not smart. I am not strong. I am not cool. I am not special. I’m just one more bozo on a bike, trying to stay upright, just trying to get where I’m going. Leave it to a human-powered vehicle to help you feel more human.
And suffering is a like a foreign country. It’s not really comfortable, and you don’t want to stay forever, but it’s good to know what it’s like there, if only so you can appreciate home. You come back with good stories. And espresso on your breath.
Image: John Pierce, Photosport International