Tuesday, June 28, 2011

When There's a Wheel There's a Way?

I’m just doing it as a form of cross-training. Really, I am. I will not take up cycling.

Cycling has turned out to be a good activity to do with my older sons. It involves exercising and spending time together. You get close, without getting too close. I’ll take it.

I remember the first time I was able to ride a bike. My mom ran behind me and then she let go, and I didn’t fall down. There so much gravitas to that memory. My mom, young and strong. Still living in my old house. My first taste of freedom.

Cycling is a rich person’s sport. If you pass a neighborhood with a bike shop, you know you are in a nice neighborhood. I can’t afford to get into this now. It’s not just the bike; it’s all the trappings that come with it.

There is something to these sports where you cover ground due to your own effort. You learn a neighborhood through running or biking through it, in a way you don’t by driving. That thin piece of glass between you and the world when you drive a car changes everything. I remember when I first read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” where Robert Pirsig made the same point.

It was pretty amazing when I biked 25 miles yesterday, further than I ever covered on a bike. I was pretty wiped out. Than I realized I still hadn’t gone as far as I do by foot in a marathon.

I wanted my boys to run with me, but this is not a bad second choice.

Triathlons are cool. I can’t swim though. Duathlons? Nobody has even heard of them. Even spell check. It’s giving me “decathlon” as an alternative. Biathlon would make more sense but some gut combined skiing and shooting (a real natural combination) and stole the name.

My sons try and pass me when we bike. I have enough ego and fear of getting old to fight it. Sometimes I let them lead though. It’s comforting when they look back and ask where to turn. It reminds me that I am stil needed.

Is a road bike a less affluent version of the midlife crisis rich guys go through when they buy a sports car?

I will not get sucked in.

1 comment:

  1. "Cycling is a rich person’s sport."

    Pro cycling and wanna-be pro cycling, I suppose, although maybe so much as golf, skiing, SCUBA.

    Recreational cycling is not. A $300 bike will last you a lot longer than $300 worth of runners (what is that, 3 pair these days?). And it will take you a lot further than $300 of gas.

    There are no useage fees.

    The "serious" cyclists will try to convince you otherwise, but you can ride just fine in ordinary gym clothes, at least in nice weather.

    A cheap helmet is just as protective as an expensive one. They're all certified. It's just not as light and cool.

    And recreational cycling is a lot more adaptable and fun than the racing lifestyle.