Joy of Cycling #CyKol
“How come you’re not enthu about cars? You are a guy!”- said a girl emasculating me. That got me thinking, how come indeed? I’ve known guys who drool over Auto magazines and let out dreamy sighs as they turn pages. The above comment /challenge to my manhood made me wonder what is it about cars which fascinates others and not me. Racking my brain, I’ve come up with a few reasons which possibly exercise testosterone fuelled fascination with cars in us guys:
- A car lets you go fast. Real fast.
- A better car lets you go even faster, hence the constant and unattainable Need for Speed through upgrades.
- The visual factor, the appeal in the design and form of the car.
Next question was, why doesn’t any of that excite me much? Here’s why, I’ve found a better alternative to pursue. There is a machine far superior to cars which I worship. It’s organic and its design and functionalities are fully customizable. Its limits are imposed only by the imagination. Its creator is the creator. Nature.
The machine I worship is the human body. The prayers are offered in sweat and the blessings are received as upgrades to the body. Motorists drool over newer components and upgrades to improve their ride. The same can be purchased for the body by expending the currency of time.
Look at some possible upgrades for a car and for the human body:
|New tires give more traction and control.||Proprioception training allows for better balance.|
|Engine upgrades improve speed and acceleration.||Speed training makes you go faster.|
|Better fuel/upgrades gives more mileage.||Increasing mileage in your training ups your stamina.|
The best part about the human body is that it can be augmented with other machines to expand its possibilities. It is organic and its design lends itself to adapting to other wonderful machines. Like this one:
Climbing aboard a bicycle immediately opens up a whole new world of movement. Its like we live in a circle of what’s possible, and climbing on the two wheeler can expand that circle beyond what was believed to be possible earlier.
Merely sitting in the saddle won’t make a rush of realization course through your veins. You’re still in the confines of the old circle. You have to push the boundary to realize that the circle has expanded to include new possibilities.
You will realize that you can get from place to place quicker than previously thought possible and at little or no cost. You will feel uplifted by the surge of dopamine that is discharged by the physical activity. You will be able to absorb the beauty of the environment around you, really take in the natural beauty which you previously took for granted.
There is a training method for runners called fartlek. It involves varying the intensity of your run, going fast for a distance, then slowing down then speeding up again. That is exhausting. And that is how we travel in cars, at the whim of the bumper to bumper traffic. Travelling by bicycle, you will realize that you can travel at a constant speed for most of your journey, even in traffic you can pedal ahead . You can ride up to a red light and walk across a zebra crossing with your cycle in tow.
It is less stressful to travel at a constant speed than it is to move ahead fast and then slow down again and again speed up, only to slow down again at the whim of traffic.
In life, when we say it’s all going downhill, it connotes a negative note. Among cyclists, the idea of going downhill makes them salivate. You will pedal uphill and get a little winded when you reach the top. And immediately after you will realize that hard work pays dividends immediately. By going downhill. Sit tight in your saddle and roll down the road, feeling the wind in your face and the exhilaration of acceleration.
You will know that you have contributed towards the well being of mother earth, and you will feel better for it. You aren’t using fossil fuels and your ride isn’t bleaching out pollutants into the environment. And you are keeping yourself fit in the process. Cycling will keep you fit and keep your environment healthy too.
Meditation requires one to do something repetitive. Like chanting a mantra. Engaging in a monotonous physical activity brings relaxation and relaxes your entire being. It brings about an inner peace and lets you feel an out of body experience. The joy of cycling needs to be experienced. Its like stepping into a time machine and going back to experience the joy of your youth once again. I could write on and on, but you need to get on a cycle and pedal around to really get what the beauty of two wheels is all about. Its not the destination so much as the journey. And the journey can be experienced best at a leisurely pace on two wheels.
There is a cycling event in Kolkata on 18 March, Avon India Cyclothon- Kolkata 2012. The beauty of cycling will be on full display during that event. Bring out your ride and pedal away.
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