88 Temples: Now Online

88 Temples: Now Online

Bicycling has added my feature “88 Temples” to its site. For those of you who aren’t subscribers or haven’t had the opportunity to pick up a copy of the magazine, you can read it online here.

Now, with that said, if you appreciate the piece and would like the opportunity to read more work that is as probing and considered, whether by me or another writer, please click on the blue button in the upper right of the page to subscribe. Or just click here.

You can get two years for $22. It’s not a lot of cash. Look, I get that if you’re an RKP reader you’re experienced enough that not everything in Bicycling will be of interest to you. I’m asking you to look beyond that and give them a pretty small about of money (that’s three or four inner tubes at most bike shops these days) as a demonstration that you believe in long-form journalism about cycling. There’s not another publication on the planet that will devote a dozen pages to work of this sort.

I can assure you, you’ll find something in each issue to convince you your money was well spent.

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  1. Adam S.

    Thanks for writing and posting this article. I found your emotional honesty interwoven with a cycling story a moving and surprising read. I especially liked that you didn’t patronize us with a pat ending of spiritual entitlement and emotional epiphany at the end – though I certainly finished the essay hoping that you and your family found a healthier peace.

    I will say though, that reading your essay among the gear porn and cosmo-style “50 cycling confessions” stuff that Bicycling usually features was jarring on the one hand, and a reminder that Bicycling does something right every now and again. That jarring part is that most of the mag most of the time is written with an adolescent glossy tone that makes me feel silly for reading it. But then, out of nowhere, it drops a really good piece of writing, like yours, into the mix. Its those surprises that keep me subscribing. But jeez, there is a lot of crap to put up with for the occasionally important piece.

  2. John Borstelmann

    Damn, Padraig! That is a powerful piece. You are brave to share so much. Good luck figuring things out. Be kind, be faithful, be calm, share and care with your loved ones. Your heart is good. Find your peace.

  3. Dave King

    Great writing, Padraig. It brought Japan alive to me and made me want to visit the country, something I’d deferred in the past because of my assumptions of crowded cities. But I really appreciate you revealing your personal struggles with your family and your own self. It’s a reminder to all of us that we’re not alone in our own struggles with depression, anxiety or the garden variety frustration that our lives aren’t quite what we thought they would be. It’s easy and simple to view the surface dynamics of family and friends and conclude how good their lives must be, not realizing the undercurrents of darkness that swirl beneath the public face they present to others. And from there to assume, that we alone have not figured out life and hence must be flawed in some fundamental way.

    I will confess to thinking the same of you: leaving the belly of the beast that is L.A. to live in the cycling Eden that is Sonoma County and your trips to ride in places both far and near. A hero’s journey, in a way. Of course, I could never know what troubles you. It’s a trap that we all must beware of … that that “perfect life” does not exist, except perhaps snatched in moments, but not of the enduring kind, the world imagined where you feel secure and valued, content but not bored, challenged but not overwhelmed, and where doubt and depression are strangers in your land.

    If you care to read about a writer’s struggle with depression and how he came to accept it as a part of him, then I highly recommend Jonathan Franzen’s essay “Why Bother?” from How To Be Alone. It describes his despair and ensuing depression at the collapse of the novel (and reading of books) in contemporary American life and his subsequent isolation in his concern that he is the only one mourning this loss … until, with the help of a Stanford linguist, he realizes that people who read substantive works of fiction read not simply for entertainment but to understand and to find their place in a confusing, troubled and isolating world that does not make sense to them. Below is a link to the essay:


    In regards to Bicycling magazine, they occasionally publish great articles and this is one. The other that springs most readily to mind is Christy Aschwanden’s article on Tyler Hamilton, published in 2007. At the time, it was probably the best article written on doping and the cyclists who dope but also those who support them. The writing was thoughtful, probing and courageous and I recommend everyone read it, despite its dated info. It will surprise you.

    For anyone interested in a fresh take (despite being 11 years old) on doping, below is a link to Christie Aschwanden’s response to Tyler’s confession. Embedded in her blog post is a PDF file link to her original article.


  4. Tim

    Thanks so much for this brutally honest and insightful piece. As someone who’s been on the edge of depression before and someone who has multiple family members who suffer from it to varying degrees, I can only wish you well in your struggles.

    May your good intentions and self awareness help you achieve the outcomes you seek.

  5. Chad

    Hey Padraig.
    I was really touched by this post++.
    I have had similar battles with depression, managing family demands and doing it in the loving and supportive way that is my ideal. I, as I’m sure you do, love my wife and children deeply but sometimes (and previously routinely) did not have the ability to ensure that my love and appreciation of them was demonstrated by, and consistent with my actions. Mate all I can say is that if you keep at it you will see a trajectory develop that is heading in the right direction and whatever you need to do to maintain that trajectory is OK.

    You also touched on a point that I have often found frustrating and perplexing. As cyclists we often get into a zone when we ride and can have access to the most exhilarating and impressionable experiences only to, in my experience at least and now I see yours too, come back to day to day reality not being able to apply that insight, wisdom or calm presence to our most precious of relationships or endeavours. My only insights to this dilemma are that maybe those moments on a ride can only ever be fully experienced on a ride and that I’m convinced that if it wasn’t for the health and meditative benefits of our cycling that our current difficulties and inability to respond to them would be significantly compounded.
    Thanks for your courage and candour and for helping me realise that my personal dark experiences are not unique to me only, as they sure as hell feel like that sometimes.
    Also cheers to you, Hottie and Fattie for the Paceline Podcast, regular listener down here in Australia.
    All the best.

  6. Eric


    I’ve been holding onto to the March issue of Bycicling to find time to read your article. I’m glad I did. As a husband and father of two boys in the East Bay whose spiritual practice is cycling, your piece hit close to home. Thank you for the insight and inspiration. And I’ll look for you on the road.


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