Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Biking Simplicity


[Yes, my dear reader, this is, in fact, the very first image of Jack posted on this blog]

I took advantage of a couple of cool, clear mornings to do some serious bike training this past weekend. By Sunday night I had ravaged the Mount Vernon trail, the Capital Crescent, and a good chunk of the Rock Creek trail. No way am I approaching the likes of Jill (Up in Alaska) or Nancy (Family on Bikes), but 83 miles isn’t too shabby.

There is something so elemental about bicycling. It is the most selfless way to see the world around you. There is no gasoline, no power steering, and no seat belts. You move forward as one should move through life: by sheer will and determination. Those who bicycle regularly always find a sweet, contagious rhythm that mere novices can scarcely understand. It’s a rhythm full of wind and sweat and rushing empty spaces. It is a rhythm I hope to never forget.
At one point on Saturday I ended up in Bethesda, which is apparently the third wealthiest neighborhood in the nation, behind Newport Beach and Greenwich, Connecticut. Seeing all the beautifully manicured families, trust-fund babies, and annoying yuppies made me think about my future.

Sure, I was (1) dripping with sweat; (2) wearing my 40-year-old-virgin nerd biking helmet; and (3) wearing biking shorts that screamed “seriously, I want you; no I NEED you to stare at my junk!!”


But as I walked through the streets of Bethesda no one batted one eyelid. I was, presumably, one of them. I wonder how I would be treated walking down this same street a year from now. Would I seem different? Would I act differently? Would it really matter?

As I made my way back home on my bike it all became very clear. Life was just too simple and beautiful for me to give a shit.

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