Faulkner said, “I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it,” which is another way of saying that writing is less about a pen scratching against a piece of paper or fingers dancing on a keyboard than it is about thinking. The process of putting into print the ideas in your head forces you to confront and evaluate them in a concrete way that can often lead to quite surprising changes of view.
Cycling, I think it can be argued, is another metier that facilitates deep thought and truth seeking. A long solo ride can be meditative. It can help you strip away your fears and insecurities. It can help you see what’s happening in your life for what it really is.
Padraig and I have been working on his new book, and in it, this idea comes up again and again, that the bike brings clarity, that many of us make our life’s biggest decisions while in the saddle. To get married or not. To have children or not. To go back to school or break up with our boy/girlfriend. To quit our job or ride cross country.
I have yet to tell my wife, when she asks if I think we should adopt a baby elephant, “I don’t know. Let me ride on it,” but something like that thought does occur to me. Let me write about it. Let me ride about it. We’ll see.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what is the biggest decision you’ve made on your bike? How did it turn out? Is there a certain place you ride to do your best thinking? Or will anywhere do? Do you need to be alone, or can you get to the same place even in a group? Or with a friend?
Image: Matt O’Keefe