Monday, April 26, 2010

Flow Circles Part 1

My hand flaps out with a jerk to signal a turn, abrupt, without grace, uncool, and launches a thought train that chugs all day long. I wish for my hand signal motion to flow smoothly, apparently without effort, with ease and flow, not to appear as if I am suffering from some disease of poor coordination while swatting at flies only I can see. "Hey, he's turning right, and enjoying the ride," my gesture should shout, rather than, "Whoa, that guy can barely stay upright, let alone pedal and signal simultaneously." My right turn like the dance of one of those traffic wardens standing on the island directing traffic: smooth, practiced, focused, effective: a turn signal by Aikido master Ueshiba, perhaps, one that causes the grass on the far curb to rustle as the waves of ki flow out of it.

Flow Like This

Like Usain Bolt, from 4.6 seconds through the finish: an effortless application of motion beyond comprehension, yet possible, because someone is doing it. Not his speed (which is incredible), but his grace, power, rhythm and flow. Except on my bike, signaling a turn. THAT I should be able to do smoothly, without effort, with practiced ease and effective skill, minimal extraneous motion, in a dance-like manner, while spinning almost circles with my flow-aiding Biopace chainrings.

  Flow Free My Oblong Toothy Chain Eaters

I thought of various forms of the smooth flow I seek, but it is seldom seen. I could not think of any machine examples all day, since most machine motion actually breaks down into herky-jerky, stop/start cycles, like nearly all the machines depicted in one of my favorite movies, Koyaanisqatsi,  a movie without plot or dialog, consisting of various gorgeous photographic sequences set to the music of Phillip Glass. Then I recalled the unforgettable (for me) ending of that movie, which comes very close in the unintentional aerial ballet of the first Atlas-Centaur rocket exploding on May 9, 1962. I thought, put that on the blog, find that clip and use it to show what you are thinking about today. And then I found that, for whatever reason, MGM had posted the entire movie on Youtube. So that's below. Watch the whole thing, or at least click it and jump to 1:16:00, although you miss the whole atomic age threat machine domination life out of balance point that the movie pounds home if you just go to the breathtaking exploding rocket. But, as I'm out their pedaling away, always enjoying the ride, I need something: one perfect pedal stroke, round, effortless, pure, a flowing circular expenditure of muscle energy which could not have been better. One perfect ride, perfectly in balance. Don't know if I'll ever achieve that. But I know how to try: Get up. Go ride.

Go Ahead: Watch It. You May Cry at the End


  1. Whenever I'm signaling a right, I feel like I'm taking an oath.
    Review of the Biopace rings required.
    That bike rack on top of the hill is surreal!

  2. One of my favorite Arizona-specific bike laws: 28-756. Method of giving hand and arm signals B. A person operating a bicycle may give a right turn signal by extending the right hand and arm horizontally and to the right side of the bicycle. I wonder if other states have that.


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