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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