You mean I’m the one who has to change? –Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia
When times are tough I have to admit that it is not all bad. This song makes me think of that. How can life be so tough when I have the freedom and opportunity to ride my bicycle?
Cycling has such great rewards. Every ride is a sensual experience of the land community. Ride by ride the landscape enlivens us. Every effort gives us strength and knowledge.
This month marks the 20th year since I started cycling daily. I moved to Reno, Nevada in 1997 and fell in love with cycling, the Great Basin desert, the Sierra Nevada mountains, with learning, and my wife Mai. That was sweeping change in my life, all because I dove in. Cycling calls on us to dig deeper, awakening something inside. It puts us in touch and builds our capacity for empathy and wonder. Cycling shifts our perspective from detached to engaged, from separated to in touch, especially with the world around us, recognizing we are all made from the same fabric. Cycling shows us we are all one. Cycling emancipates us.
Everyone I talk to who cycles has something to share about how cycling provides structure to their lives. When integrated into routine, cycling is a way of living. A commute can help blow off steam and refresh the day. A Saturday morning ride can be a social occasion with friends, with family. Ride by ride you build your life like a stonemason laying the foundation of your home.
Cycling is making the day your own. Propel yourself joyfully into nature’s order. The heart that beats to the cycling rhythm is timed to kindness. Our minds are illuminated by making our way in the world with the simple proposition of a bike ride. And road cycling is a virtual Leave No Trace activity. It is way to put sweat equity back into our communities. To be a good example for our kids. To be a kid again. It is amazing how a simple act fills us with such joy.
Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. — H.G. Wells
Thank you Mark for another wonderful sharing of your experience. we are still walking rather than riding – at least near home. Regret ABQ distances are so great and cannot see us extending much beyond what we do. Love HG WElls quote – was that from Mr Kipps? Do you know Jerome K Jerome’s “Three Men on a Bummel”?
Hi Richard, thanks for your comment. Well walking is healthful and sustainable too! A teammate of mine, a professor of science and humanities, uses that quote on his email signature. I borrowed it. There is a blog post about that professor on the nonprofit site here: https://swbikeinitiative.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/team-csp-sbis-michael-ort-goes-bikepacking/ I will keep an eye out for the chance to read Three Men on a Bummel. Need more humor, to rekindle my own. Like cycling, humor is contagious. I appreciate your open mind, sir, and looking forward to the time we can take a walk together, and you and Pushpa can meet Mai. Best, Mark