Monday, August 16, 2010

Choosing the Path of Least Resistance

I'm the kind of driver who, when needing to go left, will sometimes turn right, just to go with the flow--- until an opportunity appears to make a u-turn. I despise waiting, and loathe going against the flow. Constant motion is my desire. Like a cycle of nature, I'd rather go with the flow.

When cruising on my bicycle, I use the same principle. Rather than trying to be militant about my right to be on the road, I try to pick the route with the widest shoulder, the least congestion, and the greatest chance of my personal survival. Riding a bicycle requires diplomacy, especially when you consider that even the smallest of smart cars could potentially run you down and end your cycling career. For better or worse, the cyclist is connected to the environment in which he or she pedals. Not isolated by the artificial bubble of the automobile, the cyclist must be concerned about every shard of broken glass or sheet metal screw that could puncture a tire, every flying insect that could sting or blind him, every distracted soccer mom whose SUV could flatten him. For this, the cyclist is rewarded with a greater awareness of what it means to be a living, moving creature in that natural activity of moving from one place to another.

Late to cycling in my adult life, being 35 years old before purchasing a "serious" bicycle for the purpose of commuting to and from work, I had initially reveled in the youthfulness that I felt when cycling through my neighborhood, nostalgic for the days of my adolescence, when my Huffy was my chariot.  Now into my third year of commuting by bicycle, I have begun to see cycling almost as a spiritual activity. It's hard to deny that there's a certain peacefulness in finding the downside of a long rolling hill, the breeze in your face, especially when the road is open, free of all vehicular traffic.


  1. True that. If I were to write an "This I Believe" story, it would be that I believe in cycling.