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Bike Riding vs Cycling

Old 08-09-15, 02:39 PM
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Viking55803
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Bike Riding vs Cycling

I'm an old man who fell in love with cycling as a young man. Now, coming back from heart bypass surgery cycling has once again enriched my life far beyond my expectations. I never imagined I could enjoy cycling as much or more than I did 45 years ago, but that's how it feels.

I had to take a week off the bike after cataract surgery 6 days ago. Today I wanted to wake up my legs and did a beautiful ride up the North Shore of Lake Superior, the scenic route, on nicely paved wide shoulders with no need to put a foot down for 2 hours of steady riding. I actually did an out and back and took a snack break in the middle of a 30 mile ride. With only about 600 feet of climbing up and down the rocky terrain of the North Shore it was easy to keep a nice tempo. As usual, the weather changed two or three times from overcast and calm to partly sunny to breezy and foggy on the way back. Lake Superior is a true force of nature and riding along its shore is always a sensually rich experience.

While moving along I took a break from the sensations to daydream a bit. I was thinking about how the way most folks refer to cycling - riding a bike or biking - are just inadequate words to describe how I think or feel about what I am doing. Riding a bike seems to be more about getting from here to there, while cycling seems to be about being on the bike. It doesn't really matter where I go, how far I go, or how long it takes me as it does about the experience itself. Of course, the cliche' comes to mind: it's not about the destination, but he journey, but sometimes cliche's are apt, and I think cycling embodies that in a way few other activities do.

Not that any of this matters, of course. I was pulled out of my daydream by a complaining leg. Every cyclist knows what I'm talking about: a leg or legs start squawking. It's not a cramp, exactly, but something like that. I shifted to a higher gear and dropped my tempo, powered up the next hill and the leg shut up. My butt even began to get a little tender - even a week off the bike at my age has consequences. Still, I feel like I woke up and for me that's what cycling is about.
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Old 08-09-15, 02:44 PM
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Keep your old butt happy by standing once in awhile as you pedal.
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Old 08-09-15, 02:56 PM
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I don't know what the right word is - I tend to prefer "cycling, like the OP", but I do know that at the right moment, bicycle riding is transcendental in a way that is hard to describe unless you've felt it.

Or, as I read last year,

"I asked Robin Williams why he loved riding a bicycle so much. He said it was the closest you can get to flying."
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Old 08-09-15, 03:04 PM
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I'm not much concerned with what we call it, but I empathise with your feelings about being on the bike. I'm often asked what I think about when on a long ride, or when touring, and the answer, often, is nothing. I'm not thinking, I'm just being. It's highly meditative and, I think, extremely good for my mental health. The modern description of it is "mindfulness" - being in the moment, aware of one's relationship with one's surroundings, in contact with the physical rhythms of the activity. I feel whole when on the bike.
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Old 08-09-15, 03:08 PM
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I was putting on my helmet and gloves after a break during a ride this morning. A woman came around the corner and saw me and asked "is it fun"? My answer was yes, I feel like a 12 year old kid when I'm on the bike. I'll be 60 in a few months.
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Old 08-09-15, 04:05 PM
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Old 08-09-15, 04:40 PM
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Bicycling/cycling/biking/bike-riding/whatever-you-want-to-call-it helps keep me immature...............................
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Old 08-09-15, 04:49 PM
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I got started late at cycling (age 12), but I never gave it up or took a long break from it. It remains the one sport I have truly loved. I have always been essentially devoid of athletic ability, but I ride for transportation, for recreation, for fitness, and for camaraderie (both on the road and online).
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Old 08-09-15, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Viking55803 View Post
…. Today I wanted to wake up my legs and did a beautiful ride up the North Shore of Lake Superior, the scenic route, on nicely paved wide shoulders with no need to put a foot down for 2 hours of steady riding. I actually did an out and back and took a snack break in the middle of a 30 mile ride. …

While moving along I took a break from the sensations to daydream a bit. I was thinking about how the way most folks refer to cycling - riding a bike or biking - are just inadequate words to describe how I think or feel about what I am doing. Riding a bike seems to be more about getting from here to there, while cycling seems to be about being on the bike. It doesn't really matter where I go, how far I go, or how long it takes me as it does about the experience itself. Of course, the cliche' comes to mind: it's not about the destination, but he journey, but sometimes cliche's are apt, and I think cycling embodies that in a way few other activities do.

Not that any of this matters, of course. I was pulled out of my daydream by a complaining leg…Still, I feel like I woke up and for me that's what cycling is about.
Just last week I was discussing cycling, while riding with a “roadie” Bike Forums subscriber I had recently met, and I was somehow prompted to comment that I posted more to BF as an experience than about the technical or mechanical aspects of cycling. So in considering your post, my first thought was I think I see the distinction you are drawing, but then thought it seems to hint a bit of elitism…I am a real cyclist; the others are just riding their bikes, though I presume that was not the intent.

So for example, are the subscribers who post to C&V, or Bicycle Mechanics and rave about parts and models real cyclists? Or are cycle commuters who slog through urban environments constantly on the alert for danger, real cyclists? Or Adovocacy&Safety and Living Car Free subscribers who advocate on behalf of cycling, really cyclists?

Not that this matters of course, as you said, and I’m not being argumentative; just reflecting on your thoughtful post. I would suggest a definition of a cyclist as one who claims to being a cyclist. For me I make that claim by describing that I live a cycling lifestyle. IMO this is distinctive, and a virtually “alternative” lifestyle.

But to get back to the immediate experience you described, as I understand it, I describe to myself as "becoming one with the bike." I'll leave the roadie vs Fred distinction for my previous "Fred Manifesto".
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Old 08-09-15, 05:34 PM
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I'm proud to be Fred, AND a cyclist! I know I'm Fred because I wear Keen road biking sandals and wave at fellow cyclists.
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Old 08-09-15, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Viking55803 View Post
I'm an old man who fell in love with cycling as a young man. Now, coming back from heart bypass surgery cycling has once again enriched my life far beyond my expectations. I never imagined I could enjoy cycling as much or more than I did 45 years ago, but that's how it feels.

I had to take a week off the bike after cataract surgery 6 days ago. Today I wanted to wake up my legs and did a beautiful ride up the North Shore of Lake Superior, the scenic route, on nicely paved wide shoulders with no need to put a foot down for 2 hours of steady riding. I actually did an out and back and took a snack break in the middle of a 30 mile ride. With only about 600 feet of climbing up and down the rocky terrain of the North Shore it was easy to keep a nice tempo. As usual, the weather changed two or three times from overcast and calm to partly sunny to breezy and foggy on the way back. Lake Superior is a true force of nature and riding along its shore is always a sensually rich experience.

While moving along I took a break from the sensations to daydream a bit. I was thinking about how the way most folks refer to cycling - riding a bike or biking - are just inadequate words to describe how I think or feel about what I am doing. Riding a bike seems to be more about getting from here to there, while cycling seems to be about being on the bike. It doesn't really matter where I go, how far I go, or how long it takes me as it does about the experience itself. Of course, the cliche' comes to mind: it's not about the destination, but he journey, but sometimes cliche's are apt, and I think cycling embodies that in a way few other activities do.

Not that any of this matters, of course. I was pulled out of my daydream by a complaining leg. Every cyclist knows what I'm talking about: a leg or legs start squawking. It's not a cramp, exactly, but something like that. I shifted to a higher gear and dropped my tempo, powered up the next hill and the leg shut up. My butt even began to get a little tender - even a week off the bike at my age has consequences. Still, I feel like I woke up and for me that's what cycling is about.
A beautiful essay, Viking!
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Old 08-09-15, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
...Or, as I read last year,

"I asked Robin Williams why he loved riding a bicycle so much. He said it was the closest you can get to flying."
Funny you should mention Robin Williams because just his afternoon I watched a documentary about his life and death, and did not hear a word about his passion for cycling.

The main reason I’m quoting this post is because I recently got embroiled in a brouhaha on Bike Forums about expensive bicycles (I have one). Opponents of such high end bikes argued that there is a limit in price to what one can achieve. Proponents pointed out that just a test ride cannot give the proper sense of the ride, and I’m ever-increasing in my delight even after two years.

Anyways, one description of the experience I later thought of was the flying analogy. I presume many people have flying dreams. For me I take a little running start and fly effortlessly and smoothly at a speed between walking and cycling, at about eight feet off the ground, and while in flight it seems so real to me. When riding my high end CF on a smooth, flat to slightly downhill road, that’s the closest I get in real life.
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Old 08-09-15, 05:47 PM
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Biker



Cyclist


Does that solve your dilemma?
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Old 08-09-15, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Funny you should mention Robin Williams because just his afternoon I watched a documentary about his life and death, and did not hear a word about his passion for cycling.

The main reason I’m quoting this post is because I recently got embroiled in a brouhaha on Bike Forums about expensive bicycles (I have one). Opponents of such high end bikes argued that there is a limit in price to what one can achieve. Proponents pointed out that just a test ride cannot give the proper sense of the ride, and I’m ever-increasing in my delight even after two years.

Anyways, one description of the experience I later thought of was the flying analogy. I presume many people have flying dreams. For me I take a little running start and fly effortlessly and smoothly at a speed between walking and cycling, at about eight feet off the ground, and while in flight it seems so real to me. When riding my high end CF on a smooth, flat to slightly downhill road, that’s the closest I get in real life.
Well, if you haven't already, you may care to read the original article from which I found the quote. It's chiefly about Robin Williams' love of very expensive bicycles. Of course, he could afford them. Reading the article made me wonder what has become of his supposedly incredible collection...

Robin Williams and Dario Pegoretti: The Comedian and the Bike Builder - WSJ
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Old 08-09-15, 06:57 PM
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I have returned to cycling after a very long time...one of the best decisions I have made in a long time.

There is a joy I get from cycling that makes me happy to be alive. My favorite ride is on an 11 mile trail that goes by a river and a train and woods and a university and even some civilization. I try to be friendly and say hello to everyone, but sometimes I am lost in the moment, and hardly see them...dangerous, I know.

So, I know my psyche likes cycling, and my old body is trying to catch up. For now, about 60 miles a week seems to be my limit. But I want more of that joy, so I find myself plotting how to ride more.

So, however this has happened, I am thankful.
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Old 08-09-15, 07:13 PM
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There are many paths to joy so I don't like to tell others how to ride. For myself an slow ramble puts me in a wonderful balanced state
that lets me forget about my cares.

Charlie
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Old 08-09-15, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
I'm not much concerned with what we call it, but I empathise with your feelings about being on the bike. I'm often asked what I think about when on a long ride, or when touring, and the answer, often, is nothing. I'm not thinking, I'm just being. It's highly meditative and, I think, extremely good for my mental health. The modern description of it is "mindfulness" - being in the moment, aware of one's relationship with one's surroundings, in contact with the physical rhythms of the activity. I feel whole when on the bike.
My wife and I almost always head out for a 70-150 mile ride on Saturday mornings. No matter how far we go there is a nice three mile climb about thirty miles from home that we go over on the way back. About half way up yesterday, she suddenly asked if she had been pedalling (we ride a tandem). I said I didn't know for sure since I was completely lost in meditation. She had been in the exact same place.
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Old 08-10-15, 04:05 AM
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I usually say to others "I'm a rider", rarely referring to myself as a cyclist. Yet, when on a ride, I'm one with the bike. It is a mechanical extension of my thoughts and desires. My eyes scan the immediate road in front for any road debris, my mind may be on random thoughts.
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Old 08-10-15, 06:32 AM
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I enjoy riding a bike in all of its forms. Not sure what to call myself, though...

I recently stopped at a light and, glancing to my right and seeing my reflection in a shop window, I spied another bike rider. He looked friendly, so I waved...
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Old 08-10-15, 06:58 AM
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Bike riding by any name is cycling !!! The only ones trying to claim "cycling" to themselves are the fully kitted wanna be racer boy group. Anyone from a 3 year old up riding a bike or a trike for that matter are cyclist. If you dont believe me google cyclist.
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Old 08-10-15, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Bike riding by any name is cycling !!! The only ones trying to claim "cycling" to themselves are the fully kitted wanna be racer boy group. Anyone from a 3 year old up riding a bike or a trike for that matter are cyclist. If you dont believe me google cyclist.
Semantics, but IMO, putzing around at 8 to 10mph on a heavy bike in blue jeans and a T-shirt once or twice a week is not cycling. It's best described as bike riding. There is also virtually zero health benefit in doing that. Cycling, OTOH, is serious riding, typically someone averaging 16-18mph over 20-plus miles at least 4 times a week. There is health benefit in that.
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Old 08-10-15, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
Semantics, but IMO, putzing around at 8 to 10mph on a heavy bike in blue jeans and a T-shirt once or twice a week is not cycling. It's best described as bike riding. There is also virtually zero health benefit in doing that. Cycling, OTOH, is serious riding, typically someone averaging 16-18mph over 20-plus miles at least 4 times a week. There is health benefit in that.
Well done; you've validated rydabent's point -- assuming you were "serious".
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Old 08-10-15, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
Well done; you've validated rydabent's point -- assuming you were "serious".
I'm never "serious." BUt, there really ought to be a distinction between a serious "cyclist" and someone who is just out riding a bike.
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Old 08-10-15, 08:20 AM
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I ride at 10-12 mph and cover around 30+ miles 3 -4 times a week. Most of my friends and relatives refer to me as ......... Tim, who rides his bike
As to having to be fast or spandex clad to be serious, I say bullsh+t

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Old 08-10-15, 08:25 AM
  #25  
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I know this. More than one recovery day and I go into withdrawals.
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