Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Past 300!

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 314
Miles left to goal: 1,886
Days left: 85

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 290
Miles left to goal: 1,910
Days left: 86

Friday, June 25, 2010

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 240
Miles left to goal: 1,960
Days left: 90

Can I count going out dancing as several more miles?:)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 229
Miles left to goal: 1,971
Days left: 91

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting Lost...

Coming home one night last week I detoured from my regular route, taking residential streets in lieu of the river path, although I am bedecked in lights and reflectors, certain parts of the trail require a certain devoted, precise observation in order to navigate them successfully. Things immediately apparent in daylight take on a different depth in the partial illumination of a front bicycle light, lending them to appear less deadly than by the light of day. Sometimes this is surprising and one finds herself half thrown from her saddle... made worse by the blur of fatigue...

This being one of my first trips back in the night and being new to Waltham- deciding to depart from the known route was a necessary decision- it meant biking into the unknown, which sounds far more dramatic than it really is. However then Edgar Allan Poe decided to show up. Around a corner I come and there we have a cemetery. Cemeteries are all well and good, and having lost some of those I hold so dear in this life I am well acquainted with them. However, when one is already lost (although pretty sure that I am going in the right direction), it is night, the cemetery is dark and hard to cross- one cannot see to the other side, the roads within it are misleading in their vectors and here and there, full of holes. Oh Mr Poe, why do you do this to me? Actually what was going through my mind was H.P. Lovecraft (The Tomb).... “Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal...” of course as rational beings we know that there is nothing to fear there in the night but as feeling beings we know this is no place for the living once the sun has set. Always with my nose stuck in a book, “I have dwelt ever in realms apart from the visible world; spending my youth and adolescence in ancient and little-known books, and in roaming the fields and groves of the region near my ancestral home. I do not think that what I read in these books or saw in these fields and groves was exactly what other boys read and saw there...” having always been in possession of (or perhaps by?) an active imagination and it's at moments like this that I wish it did not run so fast.

But there is something wonderful about getting lost- even in this gothic night journey... When we get lost we have to face the parts of ourselves that mundane, everyday existence lets us (forces us?) to keep hidden, forgotten, and/or unexplored.... so when I entered that cemetery in the middle of the night, small flickers of light by the tombstones in my peripheral vision, heart pounding once I turned a corner that I expected to provide me a way out but instead brought me into the woods, denied the light from the periphery of the necropolis. H.P. Lovecraft whispering in my ear. It was just me and being lost.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. ~Henry David Thoreau

Remove your coping mechanisms, remove what makes you comfortable. Some people take being lost in stride, some of us have to turn down the car radio (as if that impeded our ability to see the street sign?), some of us can never ask for directions, and well some of us hear echoes of H.P. Lovecraft, some of us seek to get lost just to explore the way back...

Getting lost creates space for something new, in between what you were expecting to find and where you find yourself is a place to create the next step...part 1 end

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 204
Miles left to goal: 1,996
Days left: 93

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Couple of Sundays ago....

A couple of Sundays ago whilst biking back from Rock the Era practice, i.e. the place where most of the taiko in my life happens...amongst other events:) I was (not very innocently) riding my bike down the sidewalk (!) somewhere near the Watertown/Waltham line and as I go someone leans out of the window of a passing car and yells at me: "Rock the Era!!" -At the top of her lungs- it takes me (what feels like a very long time) to realize that this is another SGI member and that I'm wearing the tshirt, fatigue does not encourage detailed observational skills... anyway you run into people you know in the strangest places and its rewarding to learn that the things you work so hard for have an influence beyond what you see and do with your own two hands...

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 180
Miles left to goal: 2,020
Days left: 94

Sunday, June 20, 2010


So I've ridden about 100 miles this past week... I have been trying to ease myself into this amount of riding week by week, so end of the weekend's totals are:

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 168
Miles left to goal: 2,032
Days left: 95

Friday, June 18, 2010


So the first episode of a tv show is called a pilot and here is mine....

I am undertaking this endeavor in order to document this somewhat silly thing I have decided to do, what is that? Ride the "equivalent distance" of the Tour de France, which according to its wiki (and yes I realize wiki is not known for its scientific rigor...) averages 2,200 miles (yes also as I am American I will be using the inelegant imperial system of measure)... before my 27th birthday (Sept 24th).

Somewhat inclined by the animated French film, Les Triplettes de Belleville; also somewhat inspired by the scene in Amelie where the horse watches the Tour de France cyclists going by its pasture- gallops leaping over the fence to run with them; also by Daisaku Ikeda's going through 3 bicycles in the Osaka campaign of 1951, and of course to have a goal of an odd nature and post it by the Julia/Julie project blog & film...

Speaking about what I do know: there are people who like horses and then there are equestrians, myself generally identifying with the later I can say- there are people who ride bicycles and their are cyclists, in this instance I am definitely the former.

The story so far, I moved to Cambridge in 2007 and found myself in the bicycling Mecca of Massachusetts, not wanting to be left behind I started biking to work on an old hybrid I bought off my room mate for $25. I named him (the bicycle, and yes I name things), Gus. Gus and I spend 3 lovely years together until the winter of 2010. I left him outside for one too many snow storms and the last bits of Gus' innards (if bicycles have innards) went into their final death throws. Despite biking all this time the ignorance of a "person who bicycles" is still quite apparent. Gus was going to cost more to fix than a new bike....and having not the fiscal means for such a purpose I become well acquainted with the bus for the ensuing months.

But, things change, as they do, and I moved to Waltham on Memorial Day weekend, now I had a proper commute, which my sister deftly negotiates daily via the commuter rail. And I like trains, not perhaps with the same childlike zest that she does, but I do; however trains most decidedly do not like me. The commuter rail schedule is not designed for someone who works 10-6:30 on most weekdays... and so the part of me that yearned for a bicycle learned to speak with a louder and more incessant voice.

Long story short- I have come into possession of a used, blue, Steyr-Puch Bergmeister single speed bicycle, I have named him Charlie. I bike almost daily along the Charles River Reservation to work and other exploits. The usual daily round trip distance is 25 miles. I will be posting my distances as I advance toward my goal of 2,200 miles by Sept 24th. Now I imagine anyone who is a proper cyclist could say that this isn't that impressive- but for me it's the next step in proving I can do what I set my mind to:)

Details in short:

Bicycle, aka Charlie, obtained on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010.

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date (including the ride to work this morning): 136
Miles left to goal: 2,064
Days left: 97
Creative Commons License
Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License