Saturday, May 5, 2012

Out of the Metal Maelstrom

Look at them, look around them, look inwards

I'm looking at them, and around them, at the cars rushing down, at the drivers texting and chatting on their smartphones, at the physical differences like mass and size. Since in some ways I'm like these guys at certain points on my ride to work every morning, I try to look at these photos and set aside the questions of fashion or uniform (bike pants, bike shirts), or equipment (clipless pedals, helmets, road bikes, etc) and instead try to elevate my analysis to the "Who cares? Ride whatever you want! Wear whatever feels good! What's going on in their souls?" level.

I do want to know if he is subtracting out STOP time though

Where is their head at when they are riding through traffic? I have a good sense of it since I do it, too, part of the time, so I have to wonder how similar our thoughts when our riding is similar. I'm probably less worried about time or speed or GPS coordinates, but I do try to keep a 360 degree awareness out for big things moving quickly in my general direction, and for openings for me to go through to get where I want to go.

My zoom > your steely gaze

In fact I do almost this exact thing every morning: waiting for the stoplight on my bicycle in front of a line of cars with my foot down. Here's one thing: the photos could lead you to believe that they somehow should have concerns about the cars rushing up behind them, but generally speaking, they don't. The photos could lead you to believe that the physical disparities should somehow yield distinct and immediate problems for the riders, but also generally speaking, they don't, mainly because of the factors present which exactly counterbalance those disparities. I know those things, but the photos still cause me to wonder about them anyway. 

So what does go on in the soul of a strong male cyclist in the middle of morning traffic? Why, soul expansion. Classic transference. Greater than self alone action. Motion, grace, speed, agility, skill. Effort, pain-overcoming, inner strength. Well, possibly, anyway. Possibly, the aspirations toward something greater than self to give meaning to action. We do hard challenging things in an effort to declare that we are more than meaningless, more than alone, greater than what we may seem. They may ride together to show each other that, they may reflect on the performance and movement of the other, and feel mirrored greaterness, a heightened state of being compared to sitting on the couch watching sitcom reruns cut with infomercials and reality TV soul death. 

Seriously, I'm not sure you can glimpse the heart of infinity from a bike saddle in traffic, but it sure beats the nothingness of the evil box in terms of soul-expansiveness, the search for greaterness, the seeking of challenge to raise the consciousness. 

I'm going to endeavor to give each person the benefit of the doubt to start with out there, assume that they are seeking something greater in order to sneak out of the reality of their limited scope, their birthright of finitude and absurdity, and not immediately discount that possibility based on what they ride, or drive, or wear. People can be sages or morons, saints or dicks, separate from what they drive, or ride, or wear. And if I grant a little more latitude to the two wheel conveyed ones, well, that's how I roll.



  1. Stopping at a light or stop sign on my bike, taking the lane, and having two-tons-plus of motorized horror pull up behind me is one of my most HATED traffic situations.

    It occurs to me that there is a distinct advantage to having another rider with you: less likelihood of the cager running you down because there'll be a WITNESS!

    1. ...or serve as a decoy. I'm reminded of the ground-dwelling birds who make a scene, flapping their wings and acting injured, to lure away a predator.

  2. Hmm . . . Possibly the same as what goes on in the soul of a strong female cyclist in the middle of morning traffic. :-)

    1. But of course! But also, mysteries beyond imagining...

  3. 'People can be sages or morons, saints or dicks, separate from what they drive, or ride, or wear. And if I grant a little more latitude to the two wheel conveyed ones, well, that's how I roll.'



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