It’s surreal to recall it now, but bicycling– even running– were largely absent from my life during my post-college twenties. I worked long hours, drove my car, and attended many a happy hour.
For a time that life seemed alright, but as the years progressed I noticed small disconcerting signs. I gained weight from a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. Twinges emanated from my lower back because of all the daily driving and stress from long hours at my job.
Happy hours felt like a hamster wheel to nowhere, replete with superficial bar chat, and a feeling that I was wasting time and money. Probably because the conversations were superficial, and I was wasting time and money.
If you’ve been around bikes long enough, you’re likely familiar with the “n+1″ principle. Velominati describes it as follows:
The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.
Today I was reading David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech “This is Water.” In it, he addresses the theme of selfishness, as well as the tedious aspects of adult life and how we all construct and view our life experiences.
Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have noticed that I’ve been perusing old issues of The Wheelman and Good Roads.
Both magazines were publications of the League of American Wheelman, which is now the Bike League, and date back to the late 1800’s, when people’s fascination with the bicycle was just beginning to take hold in the United States.
The excitement and novelty of riding a bicycle permeates these editions. From tour recounts to illustrations and poems, men (mostly men, as women are unfortunately largely absent from these publications) unabashedly adored bike riding.
An example of this appreciation for the bike is found in the poem below, “Wheelman’s Song, ” written by Will Carleton in 1884. It seemed a fitting way to end one year and help inspire the next. Continue reading The Wheelman’s Song→