With the fasted 30+ moving up to 40+expert the field didn't get any easier. Upper 70s lower 80s made for a world not seen since last summer. Some riding better now than they will all season. Others getting on the bike for there first weekend this year. The pace started brisk and tight as the open flat start left many looking for shelter in the strong headwind. Finishing somewhere in the top 10 was good for me as I did not bonk, wreck or go the wrong way. My biker tan returning after a long grey winter. Flying the all black neutral jersey as I have not got my new race kit from my new perspective team. The dark colors aiding in the recharging of my spiritual solar panels.
" In the cycle of life we all assume our position in the peleton "
In the publics mind a bicycle is scarcely more than a token for the garage and primarily a toy for children . Falling somewhere above the tonka truck, big wheel or at best a skateboard, but definitely below a BB gun. That's why the public gets frustrated and annoyed at you riding your toy on a public street. They are astonished a bicycle could cost more than 200 dollars, but won't blink an eye at spending a couple grand on a flat screen tv, lap top, hot tub, skis, guns, a suit, jewelry, BBQ pit, golf clubs or any number of items that don't involve physical prowess or cardiovascular discomfort. Those sedentary items of course make total sense in the pursuit of a effortless environment.
I lost most of my childhood friends the very day they got their drivers license. Opting out to focus solely on owning and maintaining a car. Only to see them them 5 or 10 years later lamenting over their beer at the local sports bar, reminiscing about their last active summers before they exchanged physical independency for the 4000 lbs life long wheelchair . Some where hard to physically recognize after years of inactivity. Most in their mind had reached a point of no return and being athletic again was beyond their vision. Those who started smoking where twice as bad off and engulfed in there world of nicotine induced mood swings, depression and self-doubt. Sad and estranging even unto themselves. The world as a whole seemingly teamed up in a effort to minimize all activities that involve uncomfortable physical effort.
Media and politicians want to commercialize and politicize global warming issues. Posturing and making token minimal attempts to be " GREEN ". Activist want to condemn big industry pollution, the lack of recycling and the war in Iraq. Offering solar power cell phone chargers or energy saving light bulbs as significant tools to help the environment. Then in their near sited, institutionalized hypoctical delusion of themselves they get in their cars and sabotage all their wasted effort. Focusing and blaming every other factor accept daily driving. Able only to protest, criticize and drive, drive,drive. They are culturally enslaved to cars and have no choice but to drive and would break there own legs if it meant keeping there driving privileges.
Even most bicycle enthusiast, racers and recreational alike could not condescend to daily commuting on a bicycle. Getting to work without finely combed hair and shower fresh deodorant is beyond their self image to bare. Cars for many being the ever present status symbol so desperately needed at all times. Better to get a Yakama rack and a USCF sticker on there vehicle to let the world know they'er a cyclist and a recycle sticker on there bumper as a gesture of there environmental advice. Fancying themselves as elite athletes and garnishing themselves with all the expected life style trinkets. For many commuting is for those who can't afford cars, homeless or the mentally ill. Which only truly proves that it's possible for everyone to commute. There are those who fear traffic and rightfully so. Lacking confident handling skills and traffic intuitiveness they default back to there comfort zone. Fearing the publics attitude towards cyclist and there disinagrating willingness to learn a physical tool. Each circumstantial obstacle beckoning them back to the car. Surrender comes easily For others they claim it's just not practical and surrender all thoughts of even trying. Completely sold to the car culture, the world be dammed. The very, very few who dare to commute are often labeled by those around them as extreme or crazy. I guess making it easier to justify there own slothful, wasteful life style.Chalking it up as odd behavoir. In reality if it's not raining or snowing there is no excuse not to commute for daily travel. Your car should be dominated by passangers or cargo at all times, not empty seats. Wet or snowy weather being the exception. They now have perfectly functional childrens trailers that also double for other cargo needs. Water proof, easy to pull and handle. Every individual stands without excuse accept selfishness and some form of silient deniel. If you employ yourself to great of a distance to bicycle to and from work then it's the wrong job and you've chosen self over the environment. Don't worry about recycling, your driving ruins all that.The world would be a much better place if it focused on independence from the car before all other environmental concerns. But public perception dominates and the car culture remains on cultural cruise control.
I do not by logic, morality or will power follow this creed and do not claim my motivation comes through some spiritual or environmental concern. I through a desire for cycling was unknowingly weaned off the car culture.Looking in on the drivers of the world, observing there changes within the incubator. Watching it distort there bodies and mind. Learning and developing a dislike for the cultural effects of cars. It grew even worse than my dislike for cigarettes. Not everyone smokes, but everyone drives and everyone is effected by the cancer of driving. I taught myself to ride when I was 7 yrs old. Out of site on my disapproving parents. Superceding all other activities by the time I was 10. I began performing on my bicycle at the age of 14 and rode non-stop the years leading up to that. When I turned 18yrs old I became a bike messenger and made every dollar according to my speed, distance and consistancy on my bicycle until I was 30. I bought my first car when I was 27yrs old because I qualified for races in far away places that my teammates had no interest or confidence to attend. I bought my vehicle specifically to accommodate bicycling. I refer to my vehicle as a " bike mobile " . All the wear and tear on my vehicle comes from trafficking bicycles in and out of it, not from mileage. My commute to work is currently 13 miles one way and I will use my vehicle if it rains or if my cargo is more than my bike bag can carry.
A bicycle in my mind is many things. It's an extension of my body and a selfless companion. It tutors, teaches and mentors. It has healed me when I was sick and carried me when I was weak. When I was lost it helped me find the way. When I was trapped it helped me escape. It has been a tool, a instrument and a weapon in my hands. I used it to help others and to defeat my competitors. To both play and to work. It exposes my hidden weaknesses and has revealed my greatest strengths. It has been a source of my humility and the foundation of my pride. It has taken me far away from home and has brought me safely home again. It's delivered me through time and been the fountain of my youth. It has blessed me and all those who embrace it with me. It has made me poor in my pockets and rich in my health. It has made me confident strong new friends while leaving the weak and unsure in it's draft. It's been an object of scorn and misunderstood by those who can not master it. It is technically advanced or as simple as you like. It has the ability to help global warming, the war in middle east, obesity, depression, air quality, grid lock, cancer, dependency on oil and the basic quality of life itself. A bike makes large city seem small, vast wilderness shrink in size and it blurs the line of distance and time. If this all sounds radical, extreme of far fetched then you too stand in the head lights of your own deception and chances are tomorrow will be a perfectly beautiful day and you will chose to drive. It's not so much a choice as it is being trapped in a mode of operation.
" Think of bicycling as rideable art that can just about save the world " - Grant Peterson
"I love winning, but I also love being consistant " - Tinker Juarez
" It is important to win, but more than anything it is important to always be at the front, to be a factor in every race, to be somebody that evrybody respects snd looks for " - Francescro Moser
The different disaplines of cycing
BMX ( bicycle moto-cross )
The corner stone for any welled rounded cyclist and the building blocks that can only be acquired when the mind is still in it's developing stages, past that point and you,ve missed your opportunity to learn at a intuitive level. Possibly the least experienced and understood of all cycling disciplines. Most having a brief brush in childhood if there lucky. Most bike shop employees and clerks abhor them from lack of experience, thus an inability to understand them and sell them. That's why some shops don't carry them at all. When I ride technical terrain with adults there's a night and day difference between a rider with bmx experience and those without. 20 inch wheel freestyle trick bikes represent the cutting edge capabilities of bicycle handling. Nearly all pro downhill mountain bikers come from a pro bmx back ground. Most successful cyclecross and criterium racers come from some sort of bmx background also.