Friday, January 4, 2019

To Be Outside

My reason for the bicycle has come full circle.  As best I can remember, the beginning was all about play.  The bicycle took the natural freedom of the outdoors and magnified it tremendously.  Even in my teen years, it was a sort of escape from the chaos of life into the quieter places outside.

As an adult, I wandered into a more commonly recognized reason for adults on a bicycle.  For years, I pursued athletic achievements.  I worked on going faster and longer, and monitored my performance improvements.  I dabbled in racing to test my abilities against others.  I trained.  In the winter, I trained indoors, staring at walls as sweat poured off onto the floor.  The bicycle was about sport and accomplishment.  Seeing the progress was addictive, and exploring and expanding personal limits was the goal.  It was a goal that required focus, energy, dedication, and commitment.  It had become work.

Somehow, life steered me back.  Maybe it was family needs, spiritual insight, or simply an aging body.  But I had found my limit.  I simply didn't want to work at cycling any longer.  It was sad and frightening to think about letting go of something that had consumed an investment of so much time and energy.  I figured something very precious to me was lost.  Then, without consciously thinking about it, I climbed on a bicycle and rode circles in front of my house.

I rode slow, meandering, circles just to be outside.  It was a kind of meditative movement.  Without realizing why, a sense of freedom began to grow.  I had escaped from the chaos of not only life, but achievement cycling.  It was about play again, and it was about seeking those quieter places outside.  It happened more than ten years ago.

These days, it most definitely isn't work.  Often the bicycle is for camping, exploring, picnics, or a cup of coffee.  Always, it is to be outside.

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