La Bicyclette

I love the shape of it. Aroma of it. The way it feels to be around it. It will catch my eye from across the way; I will be powerless to resist taking in its form and perhaps allow my hand to graze its surface. The source of such beauty and harmony, it is a fountain of unspeakable happiness.

It offers me companionship when I need it, solitude when I want to be alone. It distracts me when I’m trying to focus and focuses me when I am trying not to be distracted. It inspires me to take chances, and reminds me to be patient.

It breaks me down when I’m overconfident, it builds me up when I’m insecure. It brings me pain to remind me I should become a stronger man.

I love it when it’s flawless, but I love it more when it shows signs of wear; our time together has changed us both indelibly for the better.

It is no wonder the French and Italians refer to the bicycle in the feminine form, for all these things embody what it means to be a strong woman.

Women are made to be loved, not understood. -Oscar Wilde

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182 Replies to “La Bicyclette”

  1. @scaler911

    @frank

    @scaler911
    I can’t imagine why there is an obesity problem in the midwest.

    The problem is there’s a word that only the minority of us in the US understand and follow; Moderation.

    And not to get on too high of a horse here, but for much of the population in the United States exercise means “pay $60/mo for an unused gym membership” coupled with a healthy dose of “ride the elevator up one floor” and “circle the Wal-Mart parking lot for 10 minutes to find the closest spot to the door”.

  2. @mcsqueak

    @scaler911

    @frank

    @scaler911
    I can’t imagine why there is an obesity problem in the midwest.

    The problem is there’s a word that only the minority of us in the US understand and follow; Moderation.

    And not to get on too high of a horse here, but for much of the population in the United States exercise means “pay $60/mo for an unused gym membership” coupled with a healthy dose of “ride the elevator up one floor” and “circle the Wal-Mart parking lot for 10 minutes to find the closest spot to the door”.

    Don’t know where to start round here – I ride past people in our small town who’ve never been out of breath in their lives and who spend as much on fags and booze in a year as I spend on having a decent bike and at least trying to look pro. This whole group’s about self respect – maybe a giant Cogal would wake a few up to what they could still be – dream on I suppose…

  3. Sorry, bit off topic but hoping no Velominati were hurt in the shooting today in Seattle at the Cafe Racer. Just saw the news on the BBC. Prayers sent to those hurt and their families.

  4. @Buck Rogers

    Sorry, bit off topic but hoping no Velominati were hurt in the shooting today in Seattle at the Cafe Racer. Just saw the news on the BBC. Prayers sent to those hurt and their families.

    Thanks – and our thoughts are definitely with any of the injured. The first shooting took place not far enough away from our house (far enough away would be something like “never happened”), the second shooting right by my VMH’s work. Scary.

    Cafe Racer Shooting

    Downtown Shooting

    A man was killed last week by a stray bullet while driving in his car with his family. Lovely people all around.

  5. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    Sorry, bit off topic but hoping no Velominati were hurt in the shooting today in Seattle at the Cafe Racer. Just saw the news on the BBC. Prayers sent to those hurt and their families.

    Thanks – and our thoughts are definitely with any of the injured. The first shooting took place not far enough away from our house (far enough away would be something like “never happened”), the second shooting right by my VMH‘s work. Scary.

    Cafe Racer Shooting

    Downtown Shooting

    A man was killed last week by a stray bullet while driving in his car with his family. Lovely people all around.

    Scary stuff right there. Glad to hear that you and the VMH are safe. Just never know.

  6. My mother’s motto: “Everything in moderation.” She’s lived up to it. She’s 65, in great shape, and will probably live another thirty years. She walks, bikes, goes to the gym to retain muscle tone. A lively lady for sure!

    mcsqueak – I find the gym culture bizarre and outrageous. I live right near a college campus and the uni gym. It’s probably all of 900 meters from where I sit. Yet I have undergrad neighbors who will get in a car to drive down the block to get…exercise. Yikes. The hassle of parking is just one reason I drive as little as possible.

    Had to workout growing up for sports and in college. Post-college I found myself at the gym one day surrounded by sweaty grunting people staring at themselves in the mirror. I put down the weights and haven’t been back since.

    All this fat talk is very interesting to me. As a cyclist the body is reduced to simplicity. Calories in, calories out. Very simple. So why the obesity epidemic? Yes, I know there are genes and body chemistry at work. Yes, I know their is poverty and food knowledge at work. Yes, there is food access at work. BUT, I still think many, many people are fat for entirely personal, correctable reasons.

    And I’ve even noticed a growing “I’m a big person and I love me” movement. I don’t buy it. Big is one thing, fat is another. No one wants to carry around a 35 pound weight vest all day, every day.

  7. @frank

    Glad you and the fam are OK. WTF is going on up in Seattle as of late? Portland has had an uptick in violence this year as well, but nothing like what happened yesterday.

    @Ron

    If someone is totally into going to the gym, I say more power to them. Group classes can be fun – I did kettlebells this winter/spring and found the group dynamic a very nice change from my usual solo rides. My “brother-in-law” (not married yet but easier than explaining the family connection) goes to the gym 6 days a week and is in great shape.

    However I just think it’s sort of sad how many people complain about not being in good shape and do nothing about it. And how many people pay out the nose for gym memberships that go unused. I was one of those people ~5 years ago. Had all the right intentions, but for me going to the gym was about the least fun thing ever, so I stopped going. Thank god I was drawn to cycling. I do it for the pure joy of being on the bike and the challenge of a hard ride, but the positive physical benefits are icing on the cake.

  8. @mcsqueak

    Glad you and the fam are OK. WTF is going on up in Seattle as of late? Portland has had an uptick in violence this year as well, but nothing like what happened yesterday.

    I don’t know – scary stuff, though. Cafe Racer is right on one of my routes, very innocent-seeming location. Terrifying to think you’re at the mercy of someone who gets pissed and decides to unload their frustration with a hand cannon.

  9. @frank

    thanx Frank, I’m happy you enjoyed the photos (better, the stills from what we filmed with our GoPro cameras).
    In the next day we will post here a video pill… just to let everybody see how is difficult to run Paris-Roubaix with 29 degress and a lot, lot of dust!
    Bye!

  10. @Ron

    And I’ve even noticed a growing “I’m a big person and I love me” movement. I don’t buy it. Big is one thing, fat is another. No one wants to carry around a 35 pound weight vest all day, every day.

    See, here’s the thing. I did just that for almost 20 years. Then, one Thanksgiving, I went home to visit the fam and saw how much weight my father had lost (and has since gained it all back) and decided that I was done complaining. 16 months later, I’d dropped from 270 to 180. In the past year, after taking a more committed approach to longer-distance riding, I’d gained back another 15 of that. Still, I’m ~195, which is far better than the 270 I used to be.

    My point is that it’s far easier to complain about it (I called it the bitch-and-moan diet that didn’t work) than to do something about it.

    @mcsqueak
    I have a gym membership, but it’s to a rock climbing gym. I haven’t been at all for the last month with the strava challenge (I didn’t complete it, but I DID get 1037 miles in last month!) to do 1479 miles (it was not listed in KM) in the month of May. I’ll be back at it this month. I did freeze my gym membership last year when I found myself spending more time on the bike than would allow for the climbing gym. I may consider doing that again this year…

  11. Oh, I just looked up my strava stats for last month:

    1,701 kilometers
    72 hours 44 minutes
    13,735 meters

    My biggest month yet! *happydance*

  12. @Xyverz

    Oh, I just looked up my strava stats for last month:

    1,701 kilometers
    72 hours 44 minutes
    13,735 meters

    My biggest month yet! *happydance*

    NICE!!

  13. Wow, top effort! I’m sure that has been paying off in spades.

    I’m ending a self-imposed two week break this weekend, to try and give my sore hamstrings time to recover as cycling several times a week seemed to be slowing it down a lot. Not riding has been driving me bonkers.

  14. @versio

    Yeah I hope. Just a nagging sore hamstring when riding, I think through taking on too much volume too quickly in the spring combined with weight lifting. Not a show stopper, but annoying as it takes your mind out of “the moment” during rides and focuses it on the small bit of soreness every time the leg bends.

  15. @the Engine

    This is my bike. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
    My bike is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
    My bike, without me, is useless. Without my bike, I am useless.

    The makers of ” Jar Head ” forgive you ……. but apt none the less …

  16. @mcsqueak

    @versio

    Yeah I hope. Just a nagging sore hamstring when riding, I think through taking on too much volume too quickly in the spring combined with weight lifting. Not a show stopper, but annoying as it takes your mind out of “the moment” during rides and focuses it on the small bit of soreness every time the leg bends.

    Taper the lifting off if you haven’t already, your body needs to convert that strength you’ve developed off the bike into useful strength on it. It’s a transition phase, that can be tricky to manange depending on your expectations.

    @McSqueak…
    “My “brother-in-law” (not married yet but easier than explaining the family connection)” dude that sounds like your not yet brother in law is already part of the family…

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