Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tall in the Saddle

One of my students from Ireland called my bicycle seat a saddle today.  I thought it was funny.  It's so wide it does look like a saddle, but I'd never heard a bike seat called that before.  And yesterday my wife told me that if you ride your bike seated up tall using just two fingers on the handles, it's a great core workout.  Bloody marvellous invention, the bicycle.  I've been riding mine a lot.  For me a lot means that this week I've ridden it 4 times for over an hour each time. 

And I have been really enjoying it.  I notice how fast it is.  That is, compared to the speed at which I walk.  Not fast compared to the speed at which other people cycle.  In fact, I am constantly amazed at how they all seem to whiz by me and on ahead like they are in a mad dash.  Not me.  I'm a nervous pedestrian and passenger and I gave up driving a car.  But on a bike I feel strangely safe, so long as I am going slow enough that if I got 'doored' it wouldn't even hurt that much.  That's my comfort zone. 

I'm talking so much about cycling both because I am so excited to have out my cute, bubble gum pink cruiser to show off around the playground and water cooler, but also, because it is one of the points made by Tom Hodgkinson, the dude who wrote the book I'm reading, 'How to be Free'.  He says if you live in the city, ride a bike instead of transit or car, that way you are in the city, but kind of flowing through in it a happy, free way.  He says sitting crammed in the subway with unsmiling strangers will not improve your sense of feeling free. 

Also, he talks about creating versus just being 'consumers' and what an awful role we are put in these days, as being constantly advertised to as consumers.  He says:

"To free yourself from the cycle of work-spend-debt-work, simply stop consuming and start creating.  The money system has created an internal division inside all of us between the producer and the consumer.  Every day the ordinary people of the country are referred to as 'consumers', which is a terribly avaricious word.  Think of the other meaning of 'consumption', a deadly disease of romantic poets, which consume the body until expired, having been sapped, drained, used up, emptied out.  To be a consumer is to drain the world, to eat it, to stuff it into our faces, to wither it, to dry up its resources, to mine it of all its bounty; in short, to kill it.  But being a creator or a producer, that is the very opposite."

It's also a very funny book, and he highly values the importance of food, drink, and tobacco but otherwise says we don't need much besides friends.  Okay, time to wrap it up and hit the road on my pink rocket.

xo Tara


Caroline said...

I just got a bike a few weeks ago and I am enjoying it a lot. I don't ride it to work but I ride it around town and it is very freeing. I am with Tom on the food, drinks and friends. After spending an evening chatting on a deck, drinking wine with an old friend, it seems like we don't need much more. I continue to be impressed with your "no new" year. Great work and way to make it to June!

No New is Good News said...

Hey! Yay, thanks, I just realized it's 5 months today :) thanks Caroline.
let's get together and discuss y'all's masters program sometime this summer, okay?
xo Tara

Christine said...

I love your bike. And that sounds like a good book! I'm so into riding my bike right now. It is a "free" kind of feeling. ...Except for the constant fear of being killed by cars!


stella said...

Isn't he great?? and I love how you suit your bike!

No New is Good News said...

He even talks about the danger of cycling being good for us in our zombie, slave to the man world :)