Musings on Bicycling and Buddhism

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Sometimes things go as expected and sometimes they don't. As far as bicycling goes its easy to think this:

You never have the wind with you - either it is against you or you're having a good day. ~Daniel Behrman, The Man Who Loved Bicycles

Although in this case more with expectations than wind...

At the beginning of this adventure, when I did some of the math (read as approximations:) it appeared, if everything went swimmingly that I would reach the half way point in mileage (~1,100mi) sometime in August. August has obviously come and gone, and it did not include nearly enough biking. First was vacation in the mountains of Vermont, much needed- I will admit, but without Charlie. Next was returning home to deal with the flat tire mystery. During which we learned many wonderful things.

We also learned, don't wait to deal with things; it may take longer than you think, so get started now and then no matter how long it takes you're on the road to the goal, as it were. (Read as: Charlie could have been fixed while I was away and not after I got back. Hello this is procrastination you have a minute? We can wait until tomorrow if you'd like...) So instead of going a week without bicycle as he waited in the maintenance queue of the shop I could have been riding.

After that of course was the week of rain, and as stubborn as I am, and as frequently, foolishly ready as I am to challenge the weather, when it comes down to the bicycle and keeping Charlie in tiptop shape I will bear the burden of the bus to keep him out of the rain for prolonged periods.

So what now? As it goes, if I am to finish on Sept 24th I would be needing to ride ~59 miles a day. This is not impossible and real Tour de France riders usually do this entire distance of several thousand miles in 21 days, with only a few rest days between. But alas, I am not a professional cyclist and I think my legs might give out if I rode four and a half hours every day (how much time I estimate it would take to ride the required mileage at my average speed).... but I may yet surprise myself.

Don't let your doubting mind set the tone when things get rough. But do realize you still have to go to work, sleep, eat, and talk to other human beings once and while(... although I know several people who may argue some of those points). Point being that I knew I would be away for 2 weeks but I have had ~2 weeks worth of obstacles. So do I push myself beyond to complete by the deadline or do I extend the deadline (in this rare instance of a deadline being within my control)? Charlie is also going to be due for a tuneup in about 200 miles or so...

Fall arrives and it will rain, that's what Boston autumns like to do, handy hurricanes and all (Hello Earl, how are you?). And right now once I've ridden about 80 miles in a week and continue above that I get very tired, of course more training will expand my effective range...

So for now I ride as much as I can as often as I can and ride even when I'm not trying to get to any particular destination. If the overall average of ~25 miles per day continues I will be at 1,426 miles on the goal date and then will not finish the entire distance until another month has elapsed.

Sometimes our expectations are not met in exactly the way we want them to be. We do not complete or achieve what we set out to do in the way we imagined it. But we can still win as long as we persevere and continue without giving up. And then we can be delightfully surprised when we open up the possibility in our hearts and minds for the unexpected to arise. For sometimes it is better than you ever could have imagined or expected, all because you never gave up. That's victory in life, never giving up- even when things don't always go according to plan.

"Happiness doesn't exist on the far side of distant mountains. It is within you, yourself. Not you, however, sitting in idle passivity. It is to be found in the vibrant dynamism of your own life as you struggle to challenge and overcome one obstacle after another, as you clamber up a perilous ridge in pursuit of that which lies beyond." -Daisaku Ikeda

So this is me, not giving up, even though things haven't gone exactly as calculated. And it has been a great benefit for all these sunny days....

"Life is something that happens while you're busy making other plans." -John Lennon, "Beautiful Boy"

Goal: 2,200 miles by 9.24.10
Miles ridden to date: 851
Miles left to goal: 1,349
Days left: 23

Aside: I appear to have a completely defunct way of calculating days... for me Sept 24th on the countdown is day 1 not 0 and I imagine that's all kinds of crazy incompetent...but it made sense at the time. Can I put it down to artistic sentiment?

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