Saturday, October 28, 2006

They Really Are Time Machines

Once again to the cycling... always with the cycling...

There are thousands of bicycle blogs, of which Why Howard Laughed is half of one. But nobody blogs it better than ex-bicycle framebuilder and septegenarian Dave Moulton. Here is an excerpt from one of his recent posts with the Ring of Truth to it:
People always tell me that I don’t look my age and I can tell you when I am riding my bike I don’t feel it. I feel no different than when I rode a bike at age forty something.

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 a given distance that I am not yet riding as fast as I did some thirty 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 hard 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. There is no other feeling quite like it.

Riding a road bike is, in a way, 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.
Dave Moulton perfectly sums up for me why I love biking. The fitness and exercise, the weight loss, the cheap zero-carbon-emissions transportation, even the fun of riding with my best girl -- these are all wonderful bonus benefits. But really? I most love what I think of as the whole Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance thing. If you read the book I'm making reference to, you should understand. By the way, read the entire Dave Moulton post to understand the "time machine" title of this, and his, post.

It's true that I could, with the check recently received from a client, get a $4,000 bike, which presumably would make bicycling phenomenally easier than my 28-pound Fuji Touring bike allows. My Fuji might commonly be thought of as "a beater" by the cycling cognoscente. But right now, I don't want or need easier. I'm comfortable where I am. I can go as fast as I want. I pass everyone when I'm in that kind of mood. And yes, climbing 8% grades that go on forever hurts like hell, but I accept that. My legs are as strong as ever.

Still, it's nice to fantasize about getting that carbon-framed velobeast in a couple years. After all, I'm not getting any younger.

P.S. What Greg Lemond said bears repeating -- "It never gets easier; you just go faster." One of the best biking quotes ever.


Blogger CJ said...

This Dave Moulton is one cool dude. But I sure hate it when 70 year olds pass me on my road bike. Usually they're women, too.

7:19 AM, October 29, 2006  
Blogger HRlaughed said...

They pass Howard too, though only when accompanied by Mrs. Howard. Howard has finally learned to just grin and bear it.

10:16 PM, October 29, 2006  

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