Thursday, April 17, 2014
I Keep On Rolling
Why my tires keep rolling after seven years of active cycling
Sometimes I quit on things. Somethings I give up on. Some people eventually quit and give up on me. Sometimes no matter how much I try to please others, I may at times end up alone. The people who quit on their dreams make me feel like there is something wrong with me for not quitting as well and for not accepting mediocrity in my life. But I can't stop and I won't stop riding my bike.
Even if I wanted to stop, I'm already being carried along by the momentum of my wheels, and I enjoy the feeling of movement too much to slam on my brakes. Even if I sold every bike in my possession, I will still end up buying a bicycle at some point or another and start riding again. This can't be said about other things that I have started, achieved a measure of short lived success on, and then eventually moved on to something else once I started to get bored. In addition to being a cyclist I enjoy painting, skateboarding, drawing, playing guitar and photography. Some of these things I am talented in and have even made a little money off of. But none of these things are things that I am consistently pursuing on a daily basis, that form a part of my routine. I ride my bike almost every day now that the weather is improving. I have no self-rightous motives for this other that it makes me feel good and I am addicted to the Vitamin D of the sun's rays and the endorphin rush to my brain.
I can't even say that I ride to stay fit anymore. I haven't lost any weight since picking up my cycling and I am not pretending that I will, although after a few months I always drop a couple of pounds. Within my reasoning doing a short bike ride is better, in fact anything would be better than spending the evening planted on the couch, watching what is probably bad television and whatever pap the media wants to serve to the masses. This is the routine that many people are addicted to. They watch other people play sports on TV and they like to talk about sports, however they won't even go outside to toss the football around. They like to see other people become famous because of how well they can sing karaoke, but they themselves never bother to learn an instrument. People live their lives vicariously through the celebrities and Youtube sensations that are on display in their electronic devices. As I think about this I have to ask myself, "is that even a life at all?".
Cycling is freedom, enlightenment and exercise all rolled into one beautiful package. Freedom from other's expectations that you too should be sitting down at work and sitting down at home. That eating out is supposed to be a form of socializing and entertainment rather than providing the body with basic sustenance. Enlightenment that there is a whole world out there beyond the realms of television that is unexplored. Why should we be labeled as weird, strange and crazy for trying to explore it? I think it is more crazy for people to be led to and fro from one cage at work to another at home, like dumb cattle from the corral to the slaughterhouse. The craziest part of it all is that no one complains or puts up a fight, in fact they are as happy as can be until they see someone who is different and does not share their insular view. Then like the stampeding cattle that they are they try to trample the more morally elevated health conscious individual down, whether by words or even by using their SUV on the road.
No one was born this way. No one starts off life saying "I'm cool just sitting on my butt all the time". Most people come out of the womb active, kicking and screaming. In the beginning we were all young and free children riding our bikes down our neighborhood blocks. Then we grow up. Some people along the way achieve titles and credentials and start to think of themselves as "important". Important people can't be seen idling in non-important activities, such as bike riding. That time has to be better spent working overtime to afford that new car payment. The car becomes everything at that point, a status symbol as well as the transporting cage from the cage at work to the cage at home. Some people don't shut up about their cars either. You'll see old men in shiny Corvettes or small men in giant Hummers. Sometimes people are classified by the cars they drive, regardless of who they really are. There is no such classification system that can be made for a bicyclist. At speed, all bicycles look the same, regardless of whether the bike cost $100 or $1000. This turns off "important" types from riding a bicycle having any respect or admiration for anyone who rides them. Little do they know that they are the ones with the mismatched priorities and that they are missing out on all the fun.
I have always been part of the not so silent minority. Rejection, alienation and social isolation are not things that are new to me. At different points of my life I have had to swim against the current and go against the grain of what the majority of the people were doing and thinking at that moment in time. Almost always I have been thankful that I did. Riding a bike is no different. It is not an activity that sits well with a lot of people or one that will grant me instant success, fame, money or popularity among my peers. But it is an investment I have made for my long term health and well being, one that I hope I can cash in on, even when most of the people that I know will be diabetic, dead, frumpy or morbidly obese.
As I turn 30, I am already looking forward to seeing the first phase of my investment pay off. My Dad had really high cholesterol at my age, something I have been able to regulate with exercise thus far. Hopefully I can fend that off for a few more years as well as high blood pressure and diabetes. Hopefully I can also avoid the obesity my mom had from not taking care of herself during my childhood. If I can do even a little better than my parents did in this respect I will feel like I made a difference in my health.
I am a cyclist. I may not look the part or be competitively fast, but I feel this is sticking with me wherever I go from now on. I might go back to drawing and painting (which I should) or photography later on in life, but I plan to always be riding my bike. Like the song that was made in the 70's (who sung it, REO Speedwagon?) I keep on rolling, rollin' on despite the changes.