My sister, visiting from the Great Midwest, states bluntly, upon viewing my stable of velocipedes, as I set out for a glorious mid-Summer Phoenix Sunday ride: "You are addicted to bicycles."
I must listen to her, and heed her words, for she is wise beyond knowing, and patient beyond understanding: she teaches at a grade school where the majority of the kids qualify for reduced-rate lunches, and where most of them will move to a different school before the year is over. At first, I think I might plead my case with her, explaining that cycling is my way of balancing my ekstasis [έκ-στασις (ek-stasis), "to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere (from ek-: out, and stasis: a stand, or a standoff of forces)] with my eiron, but she prefers plain-speaking. "Perhaps I am indeed," I reply to her, "Would you like to give it a try? First ride's free, and it looks like a fantastic warm overcast morning for a ride along the canal."
But there is a problem: she is a runner, and would prefer to cover some miles with the slap slap slap of her feet against the ground, and views my insertion of two wheels frame seat pedals chain etc. as extra added unnecessary weight and complexity. "Just run, brother of mine," she suggests. And I am sympathetic to her perspective, since I too have known the experience of running, but at this juncture it is too much impact for certain of my bodily parts or structures to comfortably or even possibly endure, and while running does possess many charms of its own, I find those of cycling to exceed them. So I explain, "I shall opt out of the run today, and stick with my cycling, for I love it."
"What about it do you love," she inquires, "Tell me one thing that I can understand."
"Here, I can show you one of those things, although you may not comprehend it, and I do not expect you to also love it: I love the sound my tires make in the gravel beside the canal."
She appreciates that I find satisfaction in the sound, but does not share my love of it. I don my helmet and gloves, preparing to ride off into the morning, while she and the others in my family stare after me, and wonder what has become of me. But they also notice that I am in good shape, and of good spirits, and recognize that there are other worse, and/or more expensive, and/or less healthy things for me to get all wrapped up in, and on reflection, they appear prepared to grant that this particular hobby, or pastime, or fitness outlet, has merit. As I think about where I'm going to go to find gravel, I turn to her, and suggest, "You know, there's a great shoe store that's just a short bicycle ride from here, and I saw in the paper they are having a sale on running shoes today. Want to ride over with me?" I watch her carefully as she feels the grip of my clever scheme, and I come closer to recruiting one more member to the fold.