Sunday, August 12, 2012

Zen and the art of Bicycling

Since June 2012, I have put 565 miles on this bike.  I didn’t record the miles before that so you could add another 400-500 since I bought it about a year ago.  I do about 10-80 mile a week.  I really like biking.

The bike is a Univega Aero Speed.  Found it at a garage sale for $25.  That is a steel.  Originally bought it for my girlfriend Jess, I quickly found her a suitable bike and adopted this one as mine.  The bike I had before this needed some repair work so I switched my focus to this new old bike.

Once I decide to ride a bike I customize it for performance and comfort right away.  

The bars were already changed to the mountain bike type for leverage on the hills.  The seat was my first upgrade.  I refuse to ride the common hard plastic thin wedge seat type.  I use a large cushy one.  New grips were next.  Then, for more power I changed the pedals to include toe clips.  You will never believe that you get 40% more power until you try toe clips yourself.  Simple flat pedals are only good for casual beach cruisers as they do not capture your “upstroke” power.  Oh…   and before all this, I did a tune up, adjusting the gears for accurate shifts.

For me, bicycling is an important part of expanding my life.  On the surface, I use the bike to workout and get around.  On a deeper level, it is a different way to see the world.  Every ride has a different thrill.  Hitting 40 MPH on a down hill leaves me with a smile on my face.  Discovering a place to eat that I may have missed while riding in my car, has become a norm.  I usually ride about 10-20 miles each outing.  Once I pass the 5 mile mark I enter a Zen like meditation state.  I can think clearly and work out all thoughts.  I find the same magic on a snowboard or a motorcycle.

Just for comparison and to go off topic.  I find Zen in several variations of activates.  Drawing may be one of the best.  I find drawing is similar to welding in that I am not thinking about anything.  I am just calmly focused on the task, making adjustments to the work as I go.  Where as snowboarding, biking, and motorcycling are more like a flying feeling.  As I sweep turns through the clouds or flap my wings, my mind is free to make adjustments and explorations.

I would calculate the activity of writing, in the middle of my Zen scale.  I am not floating through turns nor am I totally on the ground.  I must make adjustments, explore options and edit mistakes.  So it takes effort to express myself.  I enjoy it and sometimes…   in a little story or description, I can get into a Zen journey wile working through the feelings I want to express.

Breathe…  There, I just landed.  Well that’s all for now.  Enjoy the drawing and your riding.

1 comment:

  1. You sir have inspired me...! I will take my broken bike fix it up and ride again, Thanks for the insparation...!