I bought a bicycle two weeks ago. I feel like I’ve joined a cult. All I want to do is ride. Cycling has eaten my brain.
“I have almost forgotten that there is such a pursuit as literature in the arduous study of – bicycling!”
My first real ride out, I thought I might die. My heart felt like it was going to explode. I dismounted and almost fell down. Legs like jelly.
I’ve been fortunate to come under the guidance of a retired neighbor who has plenty of patience and time to ride. (It turns out another neighbor down the street rode in the Tour de France, but that’s a story for another day.)
On Sunday I biked 22 miles. My ass hurts. My knees hurt. I feel great.
My favorite thing about biking so far, other than the high from the endorphins after a long ride, is that I have to devote 100% of my attention to it. I can’t be distracted. I have to be completely in my body using all of my senses (including the sixth one) to pull it off.
I’m not the first to note this: in a roundup of artists who really, really love their bicycles, artist Julia Chiang put it well: “You get to just focus on your senses — try to see things before they happen, hear things before it’s too late — so everything else kind of disappears.”
There’s something about the zeal of the convert, the way it scares and thrills you a bit, the all-consuming nature of your new hobby…