Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

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


  1. Good luck, Jessie! You can definitely hit your goal before your birthday. :)

  2. this is cool Jessie, I live in Watertown and try to bike to work when the weather is nice for a daily commute of abt 20 miles. I think you can definitely hit your goal.
    Good luck!


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Tour de What You Will by Jessie Calkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License