this past weekend was filled with college reunioning, but this evening i came across this interesting link from Kent's Bike Blog from the Seattle area. The link is actually from this page: Eric, which looks like a listserve of some sort. I'm not too terribly savvy, but the discussion struck me, blending quite elegantly the optimism and "can-do" of cycling and cycling commuting, with the worldview and acceptance of Buddhism.
I'd be less than honest if I said I love a good freezing rain on
a morning commute in the dead of winter, or an aggressive driver
crowding my wheel with their horn going, But these things happen.
My commute is far from idyllic, it's downtown DC in the rush hour
both ways. Five years of this, daily, and I feel I qualify as "not a
newbie." But there is always something new to learn.
The most difficult thing, I think, other than mastery of the machine
and the environment, is to learn to abandon value judgements based
on incomplete evidence. It is very easy (I have done it) to curse the
SUV, the luckless pedestrians who plod cluelessly against Don't Walk
signals, even the very infrastructure.
But, I submit, it's unproductive to do that. It took me a while to learn
how to play the cards that were dealt, and how not to stress out over
the inevitable vicissitudes,
The successful bicycle commuter, and by extension the bicycle tourist,
can and should develop qualities of forgiveness and acceptance, but
these cannot be allowed to outweigh strength, technical skill, and
preparedness. Only the total package of good humor and competence
can serve to make these experiences enlightening, in my opinion.
But I have run on beyond reason, I hope to leave you with this: cycling
is not about tribes, anger, or competition, or blissful nirvana either. All
of these things are contained in cycling, though. Cycling is just another
metaphorical vehicle for the attainment of enlightenment.
But unlike other vehicles for the attainment of enlightenment, you actually
cover physical miles. Even if you don't get to enlightenment, you DO get
if one delves further into that listserve, you can find other, more harried and angry viewpoints, but i sure as hell enjoy reading this one more. i hope we can all learn from this. patience, acceptance, compassion, consideration. those aren't too common these days. let's practice them on the bike, and in life as well.