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« Happy Birthday Dear Bike Blog | Main | Saddle too low? »

A time machine, or a timeless machine

It is no secret that I am up in years, it has been sixty-five years  since I got my first lightweight racing bike.

There have been periods when I did not ride on a regular basis, usually due to the pressures of running a business.

But I always came back, and when I did, my body remebered. It knew exaxtly what to expect.

Cycling is one of my many passions in life. We need passions, it is what keeps us truly alive.

I do not feel my age, especially when I am riding my bike (Whatever my age is supposed to feel like.) I feel no different than when I rode a bike at age twenty or thirty something.

These days I ride for the pure joy and feeling of freedom it gives me. There is no pressure to go fast or push myself to the point of exhaustion. I have nothing left that I need to prove, to myself or anyone else.

Greg LeMond was once asked,

“At what point does climbing hills become easy?” His reply was, “It never gets easier, you just go faster.”

So I guess the reverse is true in my case. I know by my time for any given distance that I am not riding as fast as I did some fifty years ago, but it feels the same in my legs and the rest of my body.

Only another bike rider could know the feeling of getting out of the saddle and stomping on the pedals. The immediate response from the machine as the rubber bites into the asphalt and the bike rockets forward.

The bicycle becomes an extension of the rider, man and machine become one. The closest thing to human flight without actually leaving the ground. There is no other feeling quite like it.

Riding a road bike is, in a way, is a spiritual experience. My mind is totally in the moment, concentrating solely on the job in hand. My thoughts are only on the physical effort of propelling the bike forward, and on steering a course on the road ahead.

Other times of the day, if I am not careful, I may slip out of the moment and find my thoughts in the past or in the future. An often futile exercise, as both past and future are only in my mind. Only the present or the moment is real.

Negative thoughts are always in the past or future, remembered or imagined. If I am in the moment there cannot be negative thoughts. A three hour bike ride means three hours of mental refreshment. It would take extreme concentration to achieve that by meditation or some like method.

So my bike is a time machine in that it takes me back to a feeling I experienced 50 years ago and before. And it is a timeless machine in that it keeps me focused in the moment.

All that, and I’m getting the best possible physical exercise at the same time.


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Reader Comments (10)


November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSJX426

I must agree 100% !

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

5 stars!

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterResty

With a rigged system (always has been) that seems to support fake, rather than genuine, people and values, the bicycle will always be the great equalizer. The rich don’t go faster on bikes. The cheaters and liars have to go up and down the same hills.
The wind won’t always be at your back.

You can’t fake it on a bike. Scammers can’t cheat the wind, nor the climbs, nor the danger and risk. The bike will force you to be who you really are. It may be the only time you feel real, because you aren’t having to play by someone else’s rules.

And that is why the bike is one of the most precious machines we have.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSteve


I know exactly what you mean about riding and the connection between a bike and the rider. I have the same feeling every time I get on my bike. Climbing is something I really enjoy, though it is hard. :)

Unfortunately, while I'm nowhere as 'experienced' a rider as you are, my body has begun to complain about my riding. A little more than a month ago I suffered my first overuse injury - an IT Band injury. This thing has been horrible! I can't tell if I'm healed enough, as there's no feedback. I had to give up riding for a while because of the injury, but I was able to work myself back to fitness by walking and running. Everything was going well, as I had no issues even on longer runs, so I thought I was ready for the bike again.

7.5 miles into my first ride the knee gave out again. I was able to limp home, but I've got to resign myself to a long recovery. There is even a chance that I may never do long rides again, and that's the most depressing thing I've had to deal with in my life.

I don't have to tell you how much I miss riding, as I'm sure you know how bad it can be to want to ride and not be able to. Hopefully, I will be able to get on the bike again.

November 3, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteryohann m

Dave I know you will agree with this. One thing that I will NEVER forget is, during my racing days in the late 40s early 50s in Birmingham England. The thrill of starting a 25 mile TT. The wonderful sound of my Dunlop #3s pumped till they ping,humming along as I catch my minute man. greeting him with mornin mate! then twiddling my arse off in quest of doing my p/b, maybe even setting a record. Just man and his machine working to perfection, What better way to spend an hour or so on a Sunday morning? Even now at my ripe old age of 82 just to get out on my bike, is a joy to behold.

November 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

An ode to the bicycle and its riders.

thank you

November 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSLOjoe


November 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndres in Miami

Great post Dave.

November 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJW

Great post Dave. As a middle-aged business executive – I think cycling is the only thing that keeps me sane. Every time I get on my bike – it's like I'm 12 years old seeking a new adventure somewhere. Together – my bike and I will take the next hill – and thereafter the world :-). Enjoying all your posts. Thanks for the good read.

November 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJim
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