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Time machine, timeless machine

Posted Apr 05 2010 3:00am

It is no secret that I am up in years; this year marks sixty years  since I got my first lightweight racing bike.

There have been periods when I did not ride on a regular basis, but I always came back.

Cycling is one of my many passions in life, and it is passions that keep one truly alive.

I do not feel my age; especially when I am riding my bike (Whatever my age is supposed to feel like.) I feel no different than when I rode a bike at age forty something.

The weather is turning nice here in South Carolina; recently it has been warm, sunny, with temperatures in the low 80s F. (26.6 C,) This last week I got in four rides, for a total of 155 miles.

Greg LeMond was once asked,

“At what point does climbing hills become easy?” His reply was, “It never gets easier; you just go faster.”

So I guess the reverse is true in my case. I know by my time for a given distance that I am not riding as fast as I did some thirty years ago; but it feels the same in my legs and the rest of my body.

Only another bike rider could know the feeling of getting out of the saddle and stomping hard on the pedals. The immediate response from the machine as the rubber bites into the asphalt and the bike rockets forward. The bicycle becomes an extension of the rider; man and machine become one. There is no other feeling quite like it.

Riding a road bike is, in a way, is a spiritual experience. My mind is totally in the moment; concentrating solely on the job in hand. My thoughts are only on the physical effort of propelling the bike forward, and on steering a course on the road ahead.

Other times of the day, if I am not careful, I may slip out of the moment and find my thoughts in the past or in the future. An often futile exercise, as both past and future are only in my mind; only the present or the moment is real.

Negative thoughts are always in the past or future; remembered or imagined. If I am in the moment there cannot be negative thoughts. A three hour bike ride means three hours of mental refreshment; it would take extreme concentration to achieve that by meditation or some like method.

So my bike is a time machine in that it takes me back to a feeling I experienced 30 years ago and before. And it is a timeless machine in that it keeps me focused in the moment. All that and I’m getting the best possible physical exercise at the same time.



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