Just because I race my bicycle from time to time doesn’t preclude me from riding slowly. I ride slowly all the time. It is the most fundamental part of practicing bicycling.
A bicycle is like a piano in the sense that depending on who sits down and what they play, very different sounds and movements can come out. The first teacher I had on the bicycle, Michael Hernandez, is a master of riding slowly. The slow rides are the times to observe the world and your body in it more closely, to work on your form and technique, and to enjoy the possibilities for conversation with people you meet along the way.
I ride slowly on the way to work and at the beginning of almost every ride. When someone blows by me on the multi use path I often think to myself that there is a person we need to sign up for racing. Sometimes my ego twitches but then I realize I’m actually pretty tired and don’t need to compete on every ride. Since moving to Albuquerque on October 2nd I’ve ridden to the top of Sandia Crest seven times, so I keep my slow rides in balance with challenging work outs. That is the key for me, to get enough exercise and at all different speeds and effort levels. Then the body doesn’t get bored and the mind stays stimulated through diverse activities.
Yesterday I decided to slow down in Tijeras Canyon to say hello to a cyclist who was toting panniers and hauling a touring trailer. His name is Allan Sindelar and he was just finishing up the last leg of his gratitude tour that took him down the Oregon and California coasts. He founded Positive Energy Solar about 20 years ago and built it into an award winning million dollar company. Wow, a renewable energy pioneer, flesh and blood hero! Allan was celebrating his retirement and a rebirthing of things to come. Here’s his blog about the trip: http://sindelarsolar.com/ What a good life and happy soul. Tremendously inspiring.
When we go out on a ride–even if it is close to home–we are setting out on an adventure. Be open to the possibilities, receptive to the freedom inherent in the bike, paying close attention and enjoying every movement on this voyage of discovery. How you ride your bike is a song you sing to the world. One our own ears take great pleasure in and our bodies feel grace and gratitude in the making.
A riding partner is one of the best motivations for me to take time for paradise so please feel free to email me anytime at bikeyogi (at) gmail.com Perhas we can take a ride together.