graveur

Something Beautiful

Something Beautiful

by / / 68 posts

Despite the proclivity towards being all-knowing that comes as a consequence of my being Dutch, the most beautiful things in life are discoveries that come as a result of not knowing. We are quick to answer but slow to think; the easy solution lies at our fingertips while the true mystery lurks just beyond, ready to reveal her secrets if only we are willing to venture into the unknown. Beauty is found in the journey, not the destination.

As Cyclists, we start our journey with the simple joy of pedalling a bicycle and escaping the clumsy limitations of bipedal locomotion – walking quickly loses its luster when you can pedal a bike instead. First we pedal to explore the limits of our range, then the limits of our speed. Finally, we pedal to explore the limits within ourselves as speed and range are tested together.

When we free ourselves from the confines of our local and familiar roads and point the bicycle towards parts unknown, we rediscover the childish beauty of exploration that came when we first started riding a bike. Not knowing what lies around the next bend is a mysterious sort of riding completely different from the regimented training we have become accustomed to. The familiar pressure will be there in our heart, lungs, and legs, but with it will come an element of nervous excitement at the anticipating the unknown. Whether we encounter a dead end or a gravel road; none of it matters in the scope of discovery.

One of the amazing things about a competent rider aboard a bicycle is how much distance can be covered in a day. After 8, 10, or 12 hours away, we can look at a globe and see the stretch of land we covered. The mind will be tired from the effort from having pushed the body and wondering about what will be coming next. The body will be empty, the lungs will have that familiar tension from supplying oxygen-starved muscles with fuel. The look in the rider’s eye will be one of the exhilaration that only comes as a result of total exhaustion.

We need this sort of emptiness in order to feel fulfilled. There is something beautiful to be discovered when we push into the unknown.

// Defining Moments // Evanescent Riders // Nostalgia // Tradition

  1. What a great photo and story Frank. That photo is exactly why I just bought a new Tamland.

  2. @frank

    @the Engine

    @Harminator

    @the Engine

    Love those long rides where you look at them on the app and you can see the whole island…

    My island must be bigger than your island.

    Or my rides are longer than your rides

    I thought Scotland was a Yard, not an island?

    Scotland is a landmass which had the misfortune of bumping into what is often called England eons ago. This is now called Scotlands Yard.

  3. And this is why I love Rule #12. A bike for every occasion. tired of riding on paved roads? hop on your CX or MTB.

  4. @meursault

    Fulfilled by emptiness. Very nice, I am going to meditate on that for the rest of the day.

    Ok, asshole. Thanks for pointing out that I’m really fucking wordy.

    My favorite writing quote by Aberdoodle Lincoln:

    I’m sorry I wrote you a long letter; I did not have time to write a short one.

  5. @Ccos

    I took a class on meditating (long story) but I realized that I already do it by riding, which is the best way to clear the mind.

    Also maybe it’s the emptiness we feel which causes the beer to taste so good afterwards.

    For me, Rule V, Rule VV, and 8-12 hour rides really clean the slate. The other rides are vehicles for introspection, planning, and getting distracted by shiny stuff.

  6. @Buck Rogers

    Longest ride on tap for me today in over a year. I will indeed being clearing my mind before I am done.

    Also, LOVING that lead photo.

    Don’t you live in Cycling Heaven?

    @ChrissyOne

    I’m dying for a long ride. Just a bunch of short training efforts at dodging thunderstorms these last few weeks.

    Don’t YOU live in Cycling Heaven? And what storms? The weather has been NUTS rad until the last few days.

  7. @wiscot

    A few weeks ago I set out on a lovely evening to ride some familiar roads. Around half way I turned left on a road previously unridden instead of heading for home. I then snaked and twisted and turned around some amazing new backroads almost totally devoid of traffic. The surfaces were smooth, the terrain lumpy, the weather perfect, my clothing spot on. I did 80kms and finished with a huge shit-eating grin on my face. I had gone exploring in a way that no other form of transport could match. It was a ride of empowerment and fulfillment. It was something beautiful that was mine and mine alone.

    The best. Even on small rides – I am always keeping my eye out for a new way up a hill or through a neighborhood. And anytime I ride with other people on familiar routes, I always get one or two “Oh, I’ve never gone this way – nice!”

    @Rob

    @Frank, that opening sentence has to be on the podium of your Dutch centric expositions and the rest of the opening paragraph – genius.

    Whenever time allows I have always used the bike as a tool of exploration and the longer the better. There is no better way to see the world, it’s the epitome of the Goldilocks Principle for travel, not to slow not to fast.

    Totally – and the effort makes you appreciate it more. Driving the Tourmalet is very different from riding it. I’ve been taught from a young age that the bike is the best way to explore.

    That’s what I love about the Graveur – you’re on a bike that’s great to ride on the road or gravel – and it can take a single track too. Its such a great bike to explore on.

  8. @scaler911@Teocalli

    +1 to both of you bastids.

    @therealpeel

    Well said. Too often I stick to the same roads and trails. I am undecided if it diminishes the overall quality of the ride. Time to conquer this hill or this turn, again- am I faster today than yesterday, do I even care? There is something undeniably exciting about choosing to explore the depths of suburbia and to seek out the isolated patches of tarmac seemingly made for cycling.

    This, especially in the context of what those guys @scaler and @Teocalli said. Of course there is love to be found in all aspects – the variation is what makes it so fantastic. If you are up for a long ride and can’t decide what route to take or don’t want to face the same old routes again – just go and explore. On the other hand, if you’re out for a specific program that day, you are best served hitting roads you know…my routes are so well known to me, I can tell in an instant if I’m on a good or bad ride. Both have value.

  9. @Teocalli

    …encourage you to go somewhere you may not otherwise go.

    This and “the most beautiful things in life are discoveries that come as a result of not knowing” may be real reason I am planning to go a ways away from South Carolina to ride with the STV gruppo. A gruppo that upholds its merit by V is a beautiful bonus.

  10. ” We need this sort of emptiness in order to feel fulfilled. There is something beautiful to be discovered when we push into the unknown. ”

    This, because of what @frank has written, is why we ride.    I was always at my happiest in my youth on the bike, leaving home just after dawn and not caring where I went.   Just riding and seeing where the day/road/footpath/track took me.

    Each weekend promised new adventures and undiscovered roads and sights, sounds and smells that if seen, heard or smelt now in my older years bring great memories and a uncontrollable smile to my face.

    Life is complicated now, until these glipses into the past freshen the mind.

    Very timely

  11. @teleguy57

    @wiscot

    A few weeks ago I set out on a lovely evening to ride some familiar roads. Around half way I turned left on a road previously unridden instead of heading for home. I then snaked and twisted and turned around some amazing new backroads almost totally devoid of traffic. The surfaces were smooth, the terrain lumpy, the weather perfect, my clothing spot on. I did 80kms and finished with a huge shit-eating grin on my face. I had gone exploring in a way that no other form of transport could match. It was a ride of empowerment and fulfillment. It was something beautiful that was mine and mine alone.

    I would love to know where those roads are so I can get on them! Sorry we missed each other at the Cheesehead Roubaix, but I’m sure there will be other opportunities.

    Planned to celebrated my 60th yesterday with a 60 mile ride (60K would have been too short:). Ended up riding with a friend for about 45 of the 64 I did, and she took me on some roads I hadn’t ridden for a long time “” partway down the east side of Lake Winnebago and then east a bit, all into 12-15mph steady winds with gusts in the high 20s. Coupled with the rollers there it was a good place to lose myself in the effort. When we split and I headed back in I had a full-on tailwind for about 15 miles. Nice.

    Birthday socks FTW. Sure wish it would be shorts/short sleeve weather some day. Funky tan line between socks and knee warmers….

    And of course, post-ride birthday dinner with my wife, starting as is appropriate:

    Sounds like a perfect birthday mate. Awesomeness. Happy Twelfth Year of the Five.

    @RedRanger

    And this is why I love  Rule #12. A bike for every occasion. tired of riding on paved roads? hop on your CX or MTB.

    Word up, brother.

  12. @Barracuda

    This, because of what @frank has written, is why we ride. I was always at my happiest in my youth on the bike, leaving home just after dawn and not caring where I went. Just riding and seeing where the day/road/footpath/track took me.

    I think what you mean is “because as @frank has written”…? I certainly hope I’m not writing things that are forcing you to ride!

  13. @frank Good one.

  14. @frank – correct, Im Australian, not smart.  I cant do both.

    BTW, great clip, also brings back great memories.

    These days Im constantly Raging Against The Machine.

  15. This article has compelled me to meditate deeply. Doing so brought me back to Rule #6, and how there is part of personal discovery to it as well. We discover our own limitations, as well as entertain those of our emotions.

  16. Arr I just long for the time when life was sufficiently unencumbered I could do an 8hr ride. That time has been, but will come again.

  17. @strathlubnaig

    @frank

    @the Engine

    @Harminator

    @the Engine

    Love those long rides where you look at them on the app and you can see the whole island…

    My island must be bigger than your island.

    Or my rides are longer than your rides

    I thought Scotland was a Yard, not an island?

    Scotland is a landmass which had the misfortune of bumping into what is often called England eons ago. This is now called Scotlands Yard.

    and depending on the upcoming vote we may have to dig out the canal and push it off again.

  18. This is my first post.  I’ve been following you all for the last year almost as obsessively  as I ride.   I have learned so much from all of you.  I am only a mere pedalwan, even if I’ve been riding my whole life. This article compelled me to post. It is  exactly how I feel and why I love to ride . Hammer meets  nail  right on the fucking head.  THANK YOU VELOMINATI!!

  19. @Coyotetree

    This is my first post. I’ve been following you all for the last year almost as obsessively as I ride. I have learned so much from all of you. I am only a mere Pedalwan, even if I’ve been riding my whole life. This article compelled me to post. It is exactly how I feel and why I love to ride . Hammer meets nail right on the fucking head. THANK YOU VELOMINATI!!

    Welcome, hope it won’t be your last post.  Good to see you’ve got the obsessive part.

  20. I get a kick out of the Long Solo Ride Voice Frog. Rather self explanatory, but this has happened to me when I’m out for a good number of hours riding, doing nothing but letting the mind wander as the legs spin, and then when you open your mouth to speak…all that comes out is a funny screech.

    Gotta just laugh at yourself when that happens.

  21. @frank

    My favorite writing quote by Aberdoodle Lincoln:

    I’m sorry I wrote you a long letter; I did not have time to write a short one.

    Ah, I’ve never heard it attributed to Lincoln before. Mark Twain several times, and others. Apparently it wasn’t really any of them although the concept was expressed by numerous people, even someone French – who’d have thought.

    Benjamin Franklin came close but IIRC the context was a scientific paper submitted to the Royal Society or something like that where he apologised for the length of the paper and not having been able to edit the length.

    I also quite like the quote, which is why I looked it up. Twain was a great writer but the number of things wrongly but plausibly attributed to him always makes me check.

    On the subject of Lincoln though….

    Apparently in the publishing world it was once considered, perhaps with an element of sarcasm, that books about Lincoln, doctors or dogs would be surefire hits. That gave the title of a satirical book about publishing entitled Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog and the concept of cynically hashing together whatever is popular.

    Try that one out at the next swell publishing shindig you famous authors attend. There’ll be gin and tonic snorted over bow ties I promise.

  22. @Ron

    @Buck Rogers

    Longest ride on tap for me today in over a year. I will indeed being clearing my mind before I am done.

    Also, LOVING that lead photo.

    What? You gotta quit that job and leave the wife and kids! I want more riding out of you.

    Enjoy the saddle time, Buck!

    Yeah, no kidding.  I should just quit and run away and become a Dharma Bike Bum!  (I do not think that Karma would, or should, treat me kindly if I do that!)

  23. @frank

    @the Engine

    @Harminator

    @the Engine

    Love those long rides where you look at them on the app and you can see the whole island…

    My island must be bigger than your island.

    Or my rides are longer than your rides

    I thought Scotland was a Yard, not an island?

    I heard it was just part of England.

  24. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    Longest ride on tap for me today in over a year. I will indeed being clearing my mind before I am done.

    Also, LOVING that lead photo.

    Don’t you live in Cycling Heaven?

    FUCK it is Hilly around here!  I am much too weak.  I ended up only riding a tad over 86 k’s but had over 1100 meters of climbing with multiple grades of 15 to 20%.  Rode most of the West Point Cogal route with the dreaded Mountain Road all the way to the top.  FUCKER of a hill.  You know when a road around these mountainous parts is called “Mountain Road” that you’re in for a good ride.  But yes, I am weak, more hill repeats for me (and, BONUS, I have exquisite tan, make that burn, lines from riding 3 hours in the sun for the first time in too long as well)!

  25. @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    Longest ride on tap for me today in over a year. I will indeed being clearing my mind before I am done.

    Also, LOVING that lead photo.

    Don’t you live in Cycling Heaven?

    FUCK it is Hilly around here! I am much too weak. I ended up only riding a tad over 86 k’s but had over 1100 meters of climbing with multiple grades of 15 to 20%. Rode most of the West Point Cogal route with the dreaded Mountain Road all the way to the top. FUCKER of a hill. You know when a road around these mountainous parts is called “Mountain Road” that you’re in for a good ride. But yes, I am weak, more hill repeats for me (and, BONUS, I have exquisite tan, make that burn, lines from riding 3 hours in the sun for the first time in too long as well)!

    Just leaving W.Point from your house to the gate was intense and the Cogal was in the fall so as a spring training/pipe cleaner ride it is off the charts. Well done Buck, see you in a few months and you can laugh at my negative ability to climb. Seriously I am worried the hundred K ride last weekend had maybe 50 meters…

  26. @Barracuda

    @frank – correct, Im Australian, not smart. I cant do both.

    Possibly the most compact and accurate statement I’ve heard about Australians. Thank you.

  27. @Puffy

    Arr I just long for the time when life was sufficiently unencumbered I could do an 8hr ride. That time has been, but will come again.

    Priorities, my man. Or backroom deals with the family. Or say you’re going to work, take the day off instead, and go ride?

    @Coyotetree

    This is my first post. I’ve been following you all for the last year almost as obsessively as I ride. I have learned so much from all of you. I am only a mere Pedalwan, even if I’ve been riding my whole life. This article compelled me to post. It is exactly how I feel and why I love to ride . Hammer meets nail right on the fucking head. THANK YOU VELOMINATI!!

    Welcome mate! And always remember we are all Pedalwans, no matter how much we know there is always more to learn.

  28. @Teocalli

    @strathlubnaig

    @frank

    @the Engine

    @Harminator

    @the Engine

    Love those long rides where you look at them on the app and you can see the whole island…

    My island must be bigger than your island.

    Or my rides are longer than your rides

    I thought Scotland was a Yard, not an island?

    Scotland is a landmass which had the misfortune of bumping into what is often called England eons ago. This is now called Scotlands Yard.

    and depending on the upcoming vote we may have to dig out the canal and push it off again.

    Its amazing that secession vote is allowed to go through. Last time that happened in the United States it started a war that The South thinks is still going on or, if not, will start up again sometime after they finish this Mint Julep.

  29. @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    Longest ride on tap for me today in over a year. I will indeed being clearing my mind before I am done.

    Also, LOVING that lead photo.

    Don’t you live in Cycling Heaven?

    FUCK it is Hilly around here! I am much too weak. I ended up only riding a tad over 86 k’s but had over 1100 meters of climbing with multiple grades of 15 to 20%. Rode most of the West Point Cogal route with the dreaded Mountain Road all the way to the top. FUCKER of a hill. You know when a road around these mountainous parts is called “Mountain Road” that you’re in for a good ride. But yes, I am weak, more hill repeats for me (and, BONUS, I have exquisite tan, make that burn, lines from riding 3 hours in the sun for the first time in too long as well)!

    You should come to Seattle; my hilly route here is 1600m in just over 30km. Its called the Seattle Tre Chime.

  30. @Teocalli

    Thanks.  Obsessive isn’ the problem.   Loved your guest article on competitive  “recovery  rides”. Made me laugh out loud. That’s me too.

  31. @frank

    Backroom deals with the family,  ha ha.  Cycling has caused me  to make more of these than just about any other subject.  If there is a backroom I’ll deal, so long as I get to ride. Thanks for the welcome.

    @Teocalli

    Thanks.  Obsessive isn’ the problem.   Loved your guest article on competitive  “recovery  rides”. Made me laugh out loud. That’s me too.

  32. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    Longest ride on tap for me today in over a year. I will indeed being clearing my mind before I am done.

    Also, LOVING that lead photo.

    Don’t you live in Cycling Heaven?

    FUCK it is Hilly around here! I am much too weak. I ended up only riding a tad over 86 k’s but had over 1100 meters of climbing with multiple grades of 15 to 20%. Rode most of the West Point Cogal route with the dreaded Mountain Road all the way to the top. FUCKER of a hill. You know when a road around these mountainous parts is called “Mountain Road” that you’re in for a good ride. But yes, I am weak, more hill repeats for me (and, BONUS, I have exquisite tan, make that burn, lines from riding 3 hours in the sun for the first time in too long as well)!

    You should come to Seattle; my hilly route here is 1600m in just over 30km. Its called the Seattle Tre Chime.

    Jeeezhus!  That’s the trouble around here, someone always has one worse than me!  I do, indeed, need to come out and ride your routes sometime!

  33. @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    Longest ride on tap for me today in over a year. I will indeed being clearing my mind before I am done.

    Also, LOVING that lead photo.

    Don’t you live in Cycling Heaven?

    FUCK it is Hilly around here! I am much too weak. I ended up only riding a tad over 86 k’s but had over 1100 meters of climbing with multiple grades of 15 to 20%. Rode most of the West Point Cogal route with the dreaded Mountain Road all the way to the top. FUCKER of a hill. You know when a road around these mountainous parts is called “Mountain Road” that you’re in for a good ride. But yes, I am weak, more hill repeats for me (and, BONUS, I have exquisite tan, make that burn, lines from riding 3 hours in the sun for the first time in too long as well)!

    You should come to Seattle; my hilly route here is 1600m in just over 30km. Its called the Seattle Tre Chime.

    Jeeezhus! That’s the trouble around here, someone always has one worse than me! I do, indeed, need to come out and ride your routes sometime!

    STV

  34. @Finn

    This article has compelled me to meditate deeply. Doing so brought me back to Rule #6, and how there is part of personal discovery to it as well. We discover our own limitations, as well as entertain those of our emotions.

    The position of ‘mind’ and ‘legs’ in this rule are interchangeable, I think.  If my mind is in a bit of a funk, freeing the legs will clear it.

  35. @Brian W Duly noted, I guess there is a sort of balance between the two. I would have to guess that the steed is the medium between them.

  36. @frank

    @Teocalli

    @strathlubnaig

    @frank

    @the Engine

    @Harminator

    @the Engine

    Love those long rides where you look at them on the app and you can see the whole island…

    My island must be bigger than your island.

    Or my rides are longer than your rides

    I thought Scotland was a Yard, not an island?

    Scotland is a landmass which had the misfortune of bumping into what is often called England eons ago. This is now called Scotlands Yard.

    and depending on the upcoming vote we may have to dig out the canal and push it off again.

    Its amazing that secession vote is allowed to go through. Last time that happened in the United States it started a war that The South thinks is still going on or, if not, will start up again sometime after they finish this Mint Julep.

    Actually, Scotland is an island if you’re anywhere near the northern beaches in Sydney, Australia.

  37. @frank

    You should come to Seattle; my hilly route here is 1600m in just over 30km. Its called the Seattle Tre Chime.

    Frank, that’s awesome and hilarious. Hilarious because I have a “Sequim Tre Cime” and awesome because your route is a lot hillier than mine. (Mine was named in a fit of irony.)

  38. OK, first time poster here, recovering fat guy, slow guy, never a “roadie” type guy til November or so.

    My only sizeable ride to date (not 8 hrs, only 67 mi at ~17 mph, so, slower than you lot) I really enjoyed exactly what is described here. I had no ideas what hills were coming, or, if after one, there’d be another  WORSE one, or “hey google didn’t say this road was dirt!” etc. 

    But it all reminded me of riding in 7th grade, when I was first allowed to go ride in the countryside alone.  Great article.

  39. Set off on a ride like this about three weeks ago, feeling adventurous and good on the early hills.  Then the hills just kept coming and coming and coming, any direction I chose.  Finally grovelled my way back home and collapsed in full gear on the nearest soft surface.  One of the best days on a bike I can remember in my short time as a Pedalwan.

  40. Speaking of long rides, just been reading this most awesome of articles about the most awesome of men.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27333310

    Kind of put’s worrying about the length of your socks into proportion.

  41. Great article! I went exploring on my VV Day ride, and not only got lost twice, but also found quite possibly the best tarmaced and breath takingly viewed coastal road in the North East UK (Route 1 on Sustrans between Lynemouth and Cresswell) . That moment when you the wind is low, the road is silent and all you have to do is pedal and take in the sights.

    Bliss.

  42. @sinikl

    OK, first time poster here, recovering fat guy, slow guy, never a “roadie” type guy til November or so.

    My only sizeable ride to date (not 8 hrs, only 67 mi at ~17 mph, so, slower than you lot) I really enjoyed exactly what is described here. I had no ideas what hills were coming, or, if after one, there’d be another WORSE one, or “hey google didn’t say this road was dirt!” etc.

    But it all reminded me of riding in 7th grade, when I was first allowed to go ride in the countryside alone. Great article.

    The Ride gets under your skin, doesn’t it? Welcome.

  43. @Shaun Kelly

    Speaking of long rides, just been reading this most awesome of articles about the most awesome of men.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27333310

    Kind of put’s worrying about the length of your socks into proportion.

    Wow.

    Just…     wow.

  44. @Shaun Kelly

    Speaking of long rides, just been reading this most awesome of articles about the most awesome of men.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27333310

    Kind of put’s worrying about the length of your socks into proportion.

    Amazing merit! Eager to see the film telling this story.

  45. Frank,

    Bien joué, mon ami.

    I am inspired to ride on some new roads.  Anyone in the PNW ride up to Lake Champlain north of Sultan off of Hwy 2?

  46. @unversio

    @Shaun Kelly

    Speaking of long rides, just been reading this most awesome of articles about the most awesome of men.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27333310

    Kind of put’s worrying about the length of your socks into proportion.

    Amazing merit! Eager to see the film telling this story.

    Looks incredible!

  47. @unversio

    @Shaun Kelly

    Speaking of long rides, just been reading this most awesome of articles about the most awesome of men.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27333310

    Kind of put’s worrying about the length of your socks into proportion.

    Amazing merit! Eager to see the film telling this story.

    Now that looks worth watching.

    Not only was he an incredible man and an incredible rider, he also looked this awesome…

    Gino

  48. Great timing, loving the comments.

    Three planned century or better rides in the next month…. Looking forward to them for many of the reasons described here.  Nicely done.

  49. @Teocalli

    It was digging a canal that got Scotland stuck to England in the first place ;)

  50. @Disuye

    @Teocalli

    It was digging a canal that got Scotland stuck to England in the first place ;)

    Ha Ha!  Most people forget that and the fact that the investors were quietly reimbursed courtesy English taxpayer.  Though they were more trying to cash in on the Silver,Spices and Sugar than build the Panama Canal.  So the question is what would the repayment of that bailout be worth with interest now?

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