Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'm so pretty, (and you are too).


This culture of ours, this recreation equals achievement culture, would not exist but for wealth, narcissism, and the wanton misuse of free time.

Spending lots of money and time on bikes, boats, skis, and such is an incredibly self-indulgent act. Not much is said about it, but it is unavoidable to see- we are a selfish breed, nothing more than a leisure class. Your time splits in the 10K would not be so important if there was wood to chop, a cabin to defend, or an elk needed skinning.

There is a limit to the amount of energy you can expend in a lifetime, and a limited amount of time in which it can be expended.

This energy we use turning pedals, these hours we spend in the saddle, it serves nothing and nobody save for ourselves. Blasting out a four hour ride, campaigning to be mayor of Hammer City is the energy equivalent of spraying champagne in the air. The irony comes with the feeling of holiness that accompanies me on a 30 mile jaunt through the forest. Is it truly a service to appreciate and enjoy wilderness? Riding the two lane backcountry highways does what? For whom?

It's OK. There are many other gluttons out there besides the cyclists. Snowmobilers, people who love coffee shops too much, play Capoiera, take Pilates, hoard wine for purpose of discussion, or rave about the biting taste of Arugula. Whaaaaatever.

Cyclists have no need to feel more humble than anyone else who devotes a large amount of time and energy to a self-indulgent pasttime, like people who watch LOST.

Even the bicycle commuter, bhodisatva of our milieu, is not exempt. One Less Car you may be, but our lives are surrounded by products and services supported by fossil fuel and coal power. Riding your bike to work is more statement than effective mitigation. Besides, you get to ride your bike, which you like, not to mention the smug harrumphing to be done along the way.

No Sir, No Ma'am you ain't special and neither am I. We go to work, or not, and at some point in the day we change into our superhero clothes, just like children going out to play after school.

Into the realm of the imaginary we soar.

-Juancho-

just another player

7 comments:

Jill said...

All good points.

But they same could be said of all of life endeavors.

Eating. Selfish.

Staying warm. Selfish.

Going out to slay an elk and feed your progeny.

Well - why are they here? To eat and stay warm.

Selfish.

You can't start an arguement like this without delving into the whole meaning of life and the universe.

And who wants that debate?

juancho said...

Me! Now put 'em up!

Anonymous said...

OK Juancho, there's nothing in those words I don't agree with. But, why do we feel that liberal guilt over selfish,expensive pastimes? At least our lives include time not devoted to gnashing after the almighty $.

After doing a euphoric 300 rider "naked ride against oil", some freak tells me, "but, dude, your WHEELS are made from oil, and your plastic helmet too. You rode for nothing."

Some people really don't get it.
& it ain't just the ReNublickn's.

Hell, ask any of those billions of bike commuters in China about the euphoria of riding his bike, and he'll not understand a word you say, and not because he doesn't speak much english.

Is it because we're brash americans, that we can find such pleasures? God knows we didn't invent leisure.
No, but still that guilt is there.

Should we be spending our time volunteering for 'habitat for humanity, instead?

How 'bout spreading the word of J.H. Christ, or Vishnu? ...If you ask me, we are doing that already.
& No, its not just a leisure sport
like christianity. Ours cannot be hijacked by any political right.

We are creating a new bushido code.
Part philosophy, part ninjitsu. Part Tour de France.
In this code, there are weapons to learn and aquire, called bikes.
Yes, there are priests, monks and once-a-month'ers, but they are all riders. It may still be somewhat nascent, (and hopefully always will be) but it brings us great honor to abide by it. Those of greatest honor may wear spandex, ride wal-mart bikes, or even have opposing politics. But there is honor none-the-less.

Ride or die by it.

Many have,
and we follow in their dirty tracks.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that we're lucky to have the luxury of doing it because we WANT to, not because we have to stay warm or eat -- part luck, part choice in what we do with our resources.

sasquatch said...

Energy expenditure.

After I'd been riding a year or so, I was in an argument with my beloved about whether I was or wasn't being an asshole about something, and she comes out with, "All these hours and hours of riding, I thought it would help you more than it has!" Her point being that riding was supposed to tame the beast, and if it didn't, what the hell good was it?!

And that is one way riding helps the world. If it makes you more fit and courageous and happy in your non-riding life, it's doing some good.

But riding can also eat you alive, take as much time out of your life as a good heroin habit. A great five hour buzz at 20 mph and then you're nodding and drooling on the couch all afternoon/evening, only to get up Sunday A.M. and boot up again.

There is a direct ratio between how much I ride and how deeply my home falls into disrepair.

Anyway, I'm getting better about balance, but it's a tough one if you're really dedicated to riding your bike a lot (which, when I'm in balance, I'm really not).

It's too bad balance only feels great in relation to a season of imbalance. By itself, sustained balance gets boring.

I'd be really interested in this blog community's thoughts about energy expenditure of the cycling variety and overall life balance.

Magnum said...

wait! you're not knocking LOST are you??? Jesus, Staying warm, riding-all reasonable ways to enjoy free time, but LOST is real...
WAIT! not as real as World Cup baby! Go ITALIA!!!!!! Suck it Zidane!
Where's the pain meds-losing focus-was trying to say important stuff...

hitops said...

Not quite daily; last week's crow has grown stale. Can I get at least a weekly serving? Seems you'd have a ride or two to discuss. And here's a question for Big Worm. What's the etiquette on dropping/being dropped when one of the group is riding unfamiliar terrain? Is the group vindicated by the laggard being too damned slow, or does the dropee have a legitimate gripe? Merely hypothetically speaking.