Australia030 Originally uploaded by fernandogros. There’s an interesting thing that a number of my favourite bloggers have in common. They ride bikes. I’ve never set out to find cyclists who blog. But reading some of my favourite bloggers recount their cycling experiences has been compelling. I’m reflecting on that now because, during my recent break […]
There’s an interesting thing that a number of my favourite bloggers have in common. They ride bikes.
I’ve never set out to find cyclists who blog. But reading some of my favourite bloggers recount their cycling experiences has been compelling. I’m reflecting on that now because, during my recent break in Adelaide, I’ve rejoined the cycling brigade.
After a brief and poorly constructed period of research, I took the plunge and bought myself a wonderfully grown up (or wonderfully impractical, depending on your point of view) bike.
My goals were simple: I wanted something that did not look like an overgrown child’s toy, no more than 10 gears, and if possible no more than 5, an upright and relaxed riding position, a very comfortable seat, no suspension and easy to understand maintenance.
So, I settled on an Electra Amsterdam.
I love it. Big, easy rolling, distinctive and stable. To be blunt, I’m not racing, I’m not going off-road and I’m mostly following a young child on long, flatish, paved bike trails. I’m a content, or maybe dull, cyclist.
What buying a bike and spending a succession of mornings and afternoons riding did was reconnect me, in a surprising way, with my biography. In The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton suggests that the uncomfortable reality of holidays is that we always turn up. We holiday to get away from life, but life always catches up with us.
A few years back, on Holiday in Kiawah, I rode quite a bit and realised that I missed something about pedalling around. Something about freedom, something about who I enjoyed being at a different, earlier, more carefree stage of life.
I was also reminded of a line towards the end of Matthew B. Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work, where he suggests that motorcyclists have got something fundamentally right about life, which is why he enjoys their company and working for them. In a way I think my blogging and cycling friends have made a right decision, not just aesthetically, but morally, by riding.
Sadly, my bike is not with me now – it stayed in Adelaide. But, I look forward to being reunited with the experience riding it brings when next I visit.
Of course, I could also ride in Hong Kong. Well, no, not really.