A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be firmly ensconced in the fantastic Pillar and Post hotel in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. One miserably wet and windy evening, I fired up the television and quickly affirmed my choice to ditch TV services at home over a year ago. I’m amazed at the level of pure crap that qualifies as broadcast-worthy and the things masquerading as news.
I stumbled across an interview with Jim Parsons of Big Bang Theory fame, talking about how turning 40 had been his kiss my ass point. This is who I am. With the exception of my small cadre of loved ones, I don’t care what you think of me. I admire that philosophy but I’ve got some work to do before I get there.
I find myself twisting under the notion that arm’s-length acquaintances or strangers might look upon my cycling addiction as chasing the trend. I didn’t know it was a trend when I threw a leg over the saddle Best Wife’s Kijiji bike at the behest of my eldest. Had I known that cycling is the new golf, I’d have saved myself the time and simply beat it into the twisted shape of a frustrated 5 iron and thrown it into the rough, to be forgotten like any other fad.
When I look at my introduction to riding as an adult, I don’t recall a sudden desire to get on the cycling train, to put on Lycra (I refused) or strap a piece of foam to my head and go play Lance Armstrong. If anything, Armstrong and the rest of the Tour de Chemistry put me off. After begrudgingly taking #1 son out for a cycle around the block, on a bike I wanted no part of, what I really wanted to do was…go for a ride on my own. It felt like a challenge, one I knew I could push, one that might provide some health benefits if I worked at it. The idea was too much to resist and the reward too gratifying to ignore.
Away I went in my own little quest to challenge and best myself. The Kijiji bike died after just 40km. The immediate withdrawal resulted in the arrival of the Rescue Bike and an addiction firmly entrenched. To date, no cycling magazines litter the house, no whiling away the hours on internet bike forums debating sock height or which build will give me the lightest setup, no hanging around the bike shops looking for approval.
I’d like to think that was genuine, self-directed activity, but I’m not sure I can. Perhaps my original, self-motivated ideas are anything but. Are my ideas mine anymore?