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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway


Old 02-17-06, 11:22 PM
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After reading a good amount of the threads on this forum, I notice exactly what Thoreau used to teach. It makes me sad not for myself, but for the people that Thoreau speaks of.

Everytime my gears lock, or my brakes rub, or my cleats unclip, or my shifters move, I just think how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful machine that can take me away from the city and out onto the country roads. I often ride in the evenings such that I am traveling west, just so I can see the sunset. The American flaw that Thoreau taught is that we always want more and better things. We think that each year will bring us better things for us to have, like the NEW 2006 bikes with awesome NEW features that render whatever we have now oboslete. Think back to this time last year when the 2005 bikes came out. Did they make your 2004 bike look rusty and plain? Did the NEW 2005 bikes look like the ultimate biking machines that would never be matched? How does your 2005 bike look to you now?

Challenge yourself: don't buy a single piece of new cycling equipment for a year. Don't upgrade your saddle, your fork, or your shifters. Don't undermine the magnificence of the machine that you are so fortunate to own right now.

I think that in the caucophony of the cycling world with the constant talk of this part and that frame and this "awesome stem", most of us lose the idea of WHY we cycle.

To me, cycling is a way to bring out the transcedentalist within. Out on the backcountry roads, nothing but me, 28lbs of aluminum and rubber and plastic, and the sound the tires make as they kiss the pavement- I am pure and free. I have nothing to do but reflect upon my life and the smallness that is my existence on this planet. I don't think about my heart rate, the latest carbon technology, or keeping my cadence at a certain rpm- I am beyond any of that. My bike was made in 1985, is most likely too small for me, has two different tires, and is held together in places by silver sections of duct tape. But I could care less the brand, year, or chemical composition of my bicycle. I didn't buy it only to replace it 8 months later, I bought it as a vehicle. A vehicle for my physical self and more importantly a vehicle for my mental and spiritual self.

If you cannot relate to my words, I challenge you to take a ride into the sunset. Leave your HRM and cyclocomputer at home. Forget the number of miles you have completed or yet to complete. Just ride. Make an effort to notice everything around you that you normally miss while tracking your "progress" on your collection of man-made LCD screens. Find the moon and observe it as it follows you, watch the clouds as they morph into various characters out of the old Disney movies, count the number of squirrels you see. For once, forget about riding and think about why you ride. Don't stop riding into the sunset until you have truly seperated yourself from the world of tangibility, progress, and possession.

Thank you-
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Old 02-18-06, 07:14 AM
Upgrading my engine
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Great post.
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Old 02-18-06, 08:26 AM
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I really like the tone and spirit of your post. I think it's a great reminder of what cycling is all about. However, I think it would be about time to think of upgrading if my bike were held together with duct tape.
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Old 02-18-06, 10:25 AM
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When people look at the same object they see different things. While I wholly agree that one needs to take time out and look at the world (It's what I get out of cycling) not everybody else is that way. That doesn't mean it's wrong, it just means it's different. It's no better and no worse. People should get out of cycling whatever it is that they enjoy from cycling...even if it is just an upgrade you need to make you happy. It's not my way, but that doesn't mean it's wrong.

I'm off to the FG forum again now to make fun of all you carbon fiber wanting weight weenies.
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Old 02-18-06, 10:35 AM
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Old 02-18-06, 10:45 AM
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Noble thoughts, well articulated and likely the best thing for you and others of a like mind. Personally, I'm an enthusiast, a hobbyist and unapologetically crazy about everything cycling, including the gear that goes with it. Doesn't make either of us right or wrong, just somewhat different motives for enjoying the same wonderful sport.
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