This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nothing to go back from

     Since I mentioned Rivendell, racing and unracing all within a couple of days I noticed on another thread that there were some people asking the question: "once you've gone Riv can you every go back?"  Then there was this other thread that posed the question, what Velosophy has affected you most?  Gone where and Velo'd what?  "Goin' Riv" means what exactly?
     I guess riding comfortable bikes to a real destination at an enjoyable speed is what they mean.  I was riding with a friend the other day who started talking about the problem he was having with the cyclometer on that particular bike.  He was frustrated that the batteries would die out.  When I told him I hadn't used one in years, he said his life was totally dependent upon them.
  He had to know how fast and far he went every time he was on his bike.  When I want to know that, I look at a map and compare it to a clock.  How strange, right?  I used to use a computer to track my annual mileage, then gas reached $2 a gallon for good, I passed my mileage goals in July, the computer went out with the trash.  I've been riding happily ever since.  Since most Americans are introduced to cycling as fitness/recreation with pretend racing overtones, each ride becomes a renewed opportunity to recreate the glory days when schoolmates held them in admiration.
     So "goin' Riv" must be forsaking the common belief that one must feel the threshold of pain before they can claim to have ridden a bicycle.  I have nothing to give up or forsake.  I started riding daily because it was an easy way to fit a little recreation and activity between a full time job and college classes.  It was fun, so I kept it up.
      I was at a club function one day and a woman asked what kind of bike is my Hillborne.

I told her it is a light touring bike.  She asked:  " Is it a real touring bike, can you like... go places?" No wonder I feel weird, it's no wonder a product like Rivendell's can create clientele which is looked upon like a cult.  They are not alone, Surly bikes has a comment on their website I like: "We don't advocate racing, or even trying for that matter."  That may be a little too laid back for some people, but trying keeps people from riding.  There's nothing wrong with having goals, but sometimes an obsession with self-improvement can just plain stifle activity.  A lot of cyclists fall into that trap, don't see themselves "improving" and drop out of the activity.   They just don't believe that doing something practical on a bike can be fun or that they might ride more often and get better if they had a bike they could actually use.  If they don't hit their target heart rate, it was a waste, if somebody doesn't envy their new QR lever they may as well stay home.
   It's a shame, most people would be happier, healthier and get more use from a $600 hybrid, but the herd mentality is too much for them to fight.  They will spend a small fortune on a bike that belongs on a closed course, is uncomfortable, but goes really, really fast...if you are any good.  Not that spending 2-3k on a bike like the Hillborne is less self-indulgent, but at least it can be ridden just about anywhere and will survive being locked to a bike rack while I grab a sandwich and cup of coffee.


  1. Excellent post, as usual, Marc.

    I think often of things like this, and other things you've posted. I'm almost to the point of not writing much on my own blog. If you haven't covered it yet, I'm sure you'll get around to it pretty soon. And express it better than I could anyway.

    1. That's quite a compliment, I appreciate it.


  2. Agreed. Great post. You point out what seems to me to be a question I ask weekly when I see so many riding — but only for speed, endurance and social rewards. I just can't relate, and too often feel like an aging (48) eccentric white male as I happily peddle on. I like to think I'm setting an example, but lately, feel I'm creating a spectacle. Still, it's enough fun for me, that I wake up every morning looking forward to the rides — whether for commuting, groceries, or simply joy.

  3. Yep, People forget the simple childish joy of riding their bikes.