Thursday, May 3, 2012

The zen at the eye of the storm

There is a zen-like state to be found while riding a bicycle.  It comes from an intimate connection to the earth beneath your wheels.  Little kids experience it when they roll down a neighborhood street with their handlebar streamers snapping in the wind.  It is the cheapest and easiest high that there is - all you need is a bike and a place to ride it.  There are no shortage of ways to chase that high.  A beachfront path and an old white-walled cruiser bike.  The weaving commute in and out of urban traffic to work on a small wheeled folding bike.   Maybe for some it is cruising along on a bike that fits them - an expression of their own style and aesthetic.  Functional artwork.

I am blessed - I get that high lots of ways.  Climbing a 25 mile mountain road on on my Bad Ass Road Bike and then hitting 47mph on the way down is one of my favorites.  The aptly named bike is Earth Surfer.  It flows and glides over the asphalt like a longboard on a perfect 4 foot right.  I am always mildly surprised that there is no ocean spray in my eyes when I ride it.  Even when my legs are burning and my breathing comes in ragged gasps - it delivers that high.  I don't even like road biking all that much.  However, there is something about the connection between the pavement, that bike, and me that is sublime. 

There is no substitute for the feeling that you get on a mountain bike.  It is unlike any other high in this world.  It Zen.  It is Rage.  It is Peace.  It is Chaos.  It is Living.  It is Dying.  I am not going to get to do it for a while now.  Stress fracture of the left hip (see blog entry Can I get there from here).  It is going to be more painful to go without that drug than the hip injury will ever be.  I don't find that feeling in quite the same way any other place.  I don't find it on Earth Surfer - I find it careening along a six inch wide trail downhill through a forest of towering ponderosa pines.  If I close my eyes I can almost feel it.  I focus on the single-track below and ahead.  The focus gives order to the speeding chaos.  I transport my own personal storm in a bubble around me.  I ride in its eye.

Then I open my eyes.  Time to take some ibuprofin.  My hip hurts.

1 comment:

  1. Good read. Makes me want to get off my ass today.