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.
Our challenge, he says, is to step outside ourselves, take an active role in interpreting our surroundings, and not succumb to that everyday tediousness.
I call this fighting cynicism. In recent years, the importance of this challenge has been very present in my own mind. It’s easy for me to become irritated by the day-to-day administrative functions of my life as I fume about how they hold me back from a potentially “rad” existence. I’ve been hearing that word “rad” a lot lately, and I hate it, so I’m using it here. Cynicism! Wait, where was I?
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→
As each calendar year begins, I consider the activities I’d like to accomplish and how I want to go about them. I record my intended approach as a theme.
The emergence of a year’s theme is based partly on anticipation, a bit on what’s transpired in the past, and my mood at the time. I usually flesh it out in January, when Felkerino and I are plotting vacations, brevets, marathons, and things.
A theme can also be like a like a mantra, used to underly the year’s activities and any goals I’ve set.
For the third consecutive year, Felkerino and I pedaled around with our #BikeDC peeps to support the Hains Point 100, an event hosted by Megan (and friends) to raise money and awareness for WABA’s Women & Bicycles program.
The 2014 edition of the Coffeeneuring Challenge shows that people’s dedication to riding bikes and drinking coffee (or similar beverage substitutes) while also following a general set of rules remains strong.
After the homologation of results, the season ends with 175 Finishers and 4 people securing an Honorable Mention spot.
This year was exciting, not only for the increase in participation, but the geographic reach. The United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, and Canada all represented this year.
People in states heretofore unrepresented made sure their state was counted in 2014. New coffeeneuring states include Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.