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Friday, July 10, 2009

Bicycle Wonder thru Fresh Eyes: "It's Almost Like You're Flying"

Last week, Darren Weisz of Cycle South Dakota wondered if he is losing his fervor for purely recreational bicycle riding:

It seems like the more I am riding out of necessity the less I am interested in heading out to the highways of no where for no reason. I don't know, maybe this will pass but it seems on the side of boring to me to ride 40 miles down the highways and bi-ways. [Darren Weisz, "Am I Losing My Fervor...?" Cycle South Dakota, 2009.07.02].

I know as well as anyone that integrating bicycling into one's practical daily affairs can provide a great two-wheel fix and reduce one's urge for a long, aimless spin around the county.

But in case any of you avid practical cyclists are letting your ride become too mundane, NPR provides this reminder that bicycling is a wonder-full way to get around. Tovia Smith features the Somerville, Mass., Bicycle Riding School... for adults. Go ahead, chuckle, but some of us reach adulthood without conquering the great two-wheeled magic trick. (I didn't hop in the saddle successfully until I was 18.) One 27-year-old student in the report struggles, watching other people get the hang of it faster. Then she gets it. Boy, does she get it:
Now I know why people ride bikes. It's almost like you're flying.

—Lisa Moris, quoted by Tovia Smith, "Uneasy Riders: Adults Learn to Master Two Wheels," NPR: All Things Considered, 2009.07.09

Every now and then, those of us who daily race tractors and buses, hop curbs, and dodge highway hooligans can use a little two-tube-newbie perspective. Bikes bring wonder and wisdom, as the above student discovered on her first happy day of pedaling:

When I started to look at what other people were doing, that's when I got rattled. When I focused on myself, looking straight ahead, [I was] able to succeed.... When you're too concerned about other people, you get off balance. [Moris, in Smith, 2009]

I don't know if that will get you out to the cornfields, Darren, but hey, sun's out! Whether you're headed for Hy-Vee or the Norwegian Boulevard, happy riding, everyone!


  1. Swimming in the ocean, especially when the water is calm and clear so you can see a long way down, is a lot like flying, too -- at least if you're in good enough shape so that swimming is not hard labor.

    In the ocean there are sharks and barracudas and poisonous jellyfish; on the highway there are massive motor vehicles. I'm not sure which of these hazards would be the greater, but I feel safer in the ocean than I do on the roadways.

    Ocean critters never target humans out of malice, but vehicle drivers sometimes do.

    Dedicated bike trails are a whole 'nother thing. We need more of them!

  2. Jellyfish - ew! I'll stick with semis, haywagons, and other dry-land nemeses.

  3. Nice writ-up. Last night I rode 36 miles just for fun. I think it is just taking me some time getting used to the new routine on not using a car.


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