(re) Cycling

The bike ride yesterday was different. The skies were a dull shade of grey and the cool wind ominous in its growing strength. There was a faint dampness in the air that told of what was to come yet all this seemed inconsequential as I pointed the front wheel towards the coast and pedalled just a little harder.

I wrote about cycling almost 2 years ago here and am compelled to do so again for similar reasons. There are things that one likes to do without being able to explain why that’s so. Riding bicycles is one of them for me. When pressed, I’d say that it’s because of the freedom that one gets from being out on the road, from the wind in your face and the freshness in the air if one gets out early enough. It could also be the endorphins that one gets after a good round of exercise or the sense of achievement in being able to go faster or further than one has ever done before. The reasons seem less important than the activity itself – the best way of knowing why people like me ride would be to actually do it and find out for oneself.

While on the road yesterday, I realised that there’s a certain purity to being on the bike with the elements. The constant rhythm of the legs, the hum of the chain on the gears and the wheels on tarmac, the fluid motion of the bike as it goes where we look, as if it were an extension of our bodies. It’s us on a human-powered machine against the elements and everything else out there. Detractors might say that running’s the same and purer because there’s no bike involved but there’s a beauty to the melding of man and machine here too no?

The point about being alone and at one with the elements was brought home quite clearly on my way home. It rained. Heavily. After waiting out at a bus stop for almost half an hour, I perceived a slight break in the weather and decided to brave the rain for the last 4km home. As my luck would have it, the clouds seemed to find more water just as I was halfway home and it felt like buckets were poured down. While it’s hard to wax lyrical about the cold, the painful pelting of raindrops and the scary slippery roads and brakes that don’t quite work so well, one does feel a closeness to the environment that we’re in and a new appreciation for things around.

The ride might be the last one with the bike (its an ’06 Specialized Allez Pro for the bike geeks out there) that’s followed me halfway round the world on races and has travelled with me on countless rides all over the island. It might seem strange to speak about a hunk of metal and plastic in such a way but then again, it has been a companion of sorts to many journeys I’ve had. It’s been good in any case and I look forward to riding more in different circumstances to come.

Same bike, same place. Pedal on!

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about the brushhead

had a head like a brush (it's more like an egg now). seeks to sweep through thought and faith with that brush. tries to wax philosophical but often forgets to wax off. trying to be good brush to all, while discerning what kind of brush he's meant to be.

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