Saturday, April 30, 2011


His brain was like a birdnested bait casting reel, cluttered and non-functioning. His perception was obscured as if in dense morning fog. After too much multi-tasking, too many deadlines, and complexity overload, it was time to step away. It was time for him to shut down thinking and simply move. It was time get things sorted out.

He started sluggishly. Spinning cranks felt like trying to stir a bowl of too dry oatmeal. It was deliberate effort. It took a few minutes to get his position settled, but he wasn't in a hurry. The pedals moved around at 60 rpm, but he didn't have anywhere to be. He didn't have a route planned, but he didn't feel like thinking. He just slowly noodled along.

Instinctively, he found the gravel. Within minutes, he was apart from traffic and down in the Clear Creek valley. There was a steady crunching sound under his tires. Wind tossed branches seemed to wave at him. Tall grasses bowed low, and wildflowers spotted the landscape with fresh color. His shoulders relaxed.

He stood to climb a succession of rollers. He felt the shift of balance as the machine was leaned from side to side. He breathed long slow breaths, and saw sunbeams, like strobe lights, hit his eyes as he rolled below the trees. It was then he realized the sun was shining. He was surrounding by real, tangible things. The earth is not digital.

Clarity of thought returned. Tangles disappeared in an instant like the untying of a shoelace. His mind was able to process the momentum of rolling on two wheels. He remembered the other plans for the day. His obligations were before him, but they did not overwhelm. Like the traveler on a well-worn pathway, he knew exactly the right direction. And like a well-equipped soldier, he was ready for the challenge. But there was still a little more time.

So he pedaled. The rhythm became smooth and effortless. Body and machine merged like a river confluence to flow across the countryside. "This is delightful," he thought to himself as he noticed the breeze grow stronger, and the clouds rise and darken in the west, "it is springtime." Consternation was displaced with contentment, and tangled thinking became as an arrow.

So he turned for home.


  1. That is why we ride... clear the mind... air the brain... gain the clarity to take life on...

    The Grouch

  2. Actually, the earth IS digital - there is one. Riding upon it is definitely not digital however, and particularly not on a fine spring day.

  3. Ha! Good point, Steve.

    Grouch, I suppose there might be a lot of reasons some would cite, but clearing the mind is a primary motivation for me.

  4. Very nice poetic post.
    That Texas gravel is way bigger than Vermont gravel. Vermont gravel you can ride on 28's.

  5. Very nice, thought provoking post, Chris! I feel the same way, when I ride. It helps me unclog my mind.

    I want to leave a few words of JK, as a part of my comment. Hope that's cool!

    "Man, in order to escape his conflicts, has invented many
    forms of meditation. These have been based on desire, will and
    the urge for achievement and imply conflict and a struggle to
    arrive. This conscious, deliberate striving is always within the
    limits of a conditioned mind and in this there is no freedom. All
    effort to meditate is the denial of meditation.

    Meditation is the ending of thought. It is only then that
    there is a different dimension which is beyond time."

    J. Krishnamoorthy
    March, 1979

    Peace :)

  6. This, my friend, is a piece of work. Poetic prose that sums up my raison d'etre for riding. Roll on Chris.

  7. Like you, I've had too few opportunities to untangle recently. I'm hoping this summer will be better in that regard.

    Saying "there is an earth" doesn't mean it's digital. Gonna have to disagree with Steve on that one. I guess you could regard that as a binary truth (though some philosophers might disagree, even there).

    Great post.