20 November 2012

Almost like a kid

Yesterday I hopped on my bike, and took an easy ride to nowhere.

I didn't change into cycling clothes. I didn't take my asthmatic precaution. I wasn't trying to get anywhere in particular, or by a certain time, or to reach a self-imposed goal. And when I got home I didn't write the ride down in  a cycling log.

It wasn't as much fun as when I was in school, before I got my license, and rode from town out to friends in the country. I'd go out to Jeff's place after school to ride horses and shoot squirrels. Then I'd ride home before supper. Those were the days. And I'm pretty sure that's where my love for cycling began (though as an obsession it lay dormant for a couple of decades).

Reflecting recently on my current relationship with exercise, I realized that a big part of my avoidance of the bike (yes, I'll stick with that word, avoidance) was partly wrapped up in the mechanics of preparing for a ride. Without going into a lot of detail (actually, a post in itself sometime if I don't mind revealing my compulsions), I'll just say that I just loved getting on a bike and riding. Without folderol.

My friend Neal and I don't get together nearly often enough. When we do, we often swap cycling books. We both love travel writing, and both love to ride, so we usually have some book that takes in one or both, usually both. My latest on loan from Neal is Just Ride: A radically practical guide to riding your bicycle. It is by Grant Peterson, the founder of Rivendell bikes. (It says so, right on the cover!) Peterson's main point - his only point, really, illustrated in dozens of ways - is that most of us aren't professional cyclists, or even racers, so why do we think we have to conform to the racing bike-style?

Freeing. Absolutely freeing. Now, I enjoy vigorous, challenging, fast group riding. And I'm not going to give that up. (If I did, I'd pretty much have to go back to riding solo all the time.) But yesterday's ride was a direct purposeful response to this common sense wisdom . .  and it also met my need to just get out and ride, for cryin' out loud.

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