I’m struggling with how to open this conversation without sounding like what I’m assuming my grandparents did when I was growing up. Maybe it’s because I’m just now clawing my way into some of the wisdom they had, or maybe I’m just less of an idiot than I was when they were moving their lips and I wasn’t listening. (Spoiler alert: everyone is less of an idiot then I was when I was a kid. No need to wait for the memoir.)
Kids these days have no respect.
There. I said it. Let me add some stage directions to this, for clarity.
Stage left, everyone under the age of 25: [heads down, tapping at their phones] Text me. I don’t do “speaking”. [All look up, sigh in chorus, and look back at their phones. Some of the cast members roll their eyes.]
Center stage, anyone between 25 and 37: Yeah, but they’ll learn. Give them a chance to express their ideas on this world and we’ll be happy for their challenging perspective. I embrace their view as it will help us grow both as individuals and a society. Also, Mom and Dad, please text me.
Stage right, everyone else: Bugger off, you disrespectful cretins.
The past informs the future; wisdom is learned through experience and experience is earned through the errors of our actions. That sounds a lot like a rationalization for screwing up all the time and maybe that’s true, but that doesn’t mean the premise is flawed; we must look behind us to understand where we are going. By respecting our past, we may build a better future.
In a world where the young have no respect for the wisdom of age and the old have no appreciation for the genius of youth, La Vie Velominatus cuts through the din and grounds us. Cycling is deeply rooted in the past while fiercely embracing the future. The Cyclist lives happily on both sides of the coin; cherishing our steel frames and hand-made tubular tires while embracing 10 and 11 speed drive-trains and featherweight carbon frames and deep-section wheels.
Keepers Tour 2012 was the first time I’d been to the cobbles of Northern Europe. When we arrived at the mouth of the Arenberg Forest, we were compelled to climb off and pay our respects to this, the most sacred of roads in our sport. By modern measure, this is the worst road imaginable: mossy cobbles roughly strewn across a narrow lane; uneven and sometimes as far as two or three centimeters apart. This is a road so rough it is difficult to walk down. To a Cyclist, it represents the most beautiful road on Earth. This is a road that lets us touch history.
A puzzle is meant to be solved; a mystery is not. The past is a puzzle and the future a mystery. Beauty is found in the space where the past and future live as one. Cycling is beauty.
Vive la Vie Velominatus.