Chasing Mailboxes: The Pursuit of Something More

Where does your energy go? What do you choose to pursue? Does each day pass in a blur of routine, or do you save a sliver of time to wonder about the existence of something deeper? You don’t know what the something deeper is, exactly, and you are not convinced it is a thing.

You hold onto an optimistic belief that if you go out in the world, if you work out, read more, eat better, if you try and stretch yourself in some way, eventually you will find it. Your personal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The sense that your something deeper is out there helps you wake up each day.

Photo by Bill Beck
Photo by Bill Beck

Earlier this week, Josie Bike Life featured me as part of her Women Involved series. (Josie’s been doing a great job highlighting women who ride and also write about bicycling.) Rebecca, of VeloVoice, asked me how I came to my blog name, Chasing Mailboxes.

In part, I called it Chasing Mailboxes because of all the times I’ve been out riding, certain I saw another rider or person up ahead, only to realize upon approach that my eyes were playing tricks on me.

Over the years, I have observed people on bikes, cyclists changing tires, a person waiting to be picked up by the school bus, and even deer standing by the side of the road that all turned out to be mailboxes.

However, every time I see what I think is a person up ahead it piques my curiosity, and energizes me to push a little harder on the pedals.

Mailbox on the 1000K

Chasing Mailboxes also serves as a space to explore that something deeper I’m often trying to uncover.

I write about dreams I thought I had that look different in reality, and unexpected sublime moments. Chasing Mailboxes helps me gain a better understanding of myself and my relationship with bicycling. And through writing, I gain perspective.

My pursuit of the something deeper never ends, but through Chasing Mailboxes I creep ever-closer to it. Thanks for reading along.

6 thoughts on “Chasing Mailboxes: The Pursuit of Something More

  1. Well said. Yesterday, I found myself thinking something similar. As I was drilling through a lunchtime attempt and “going faster than I ever have sort of thing”, I was wondering why? What is my goal in this, where does it end?

    This does not happen every day, but occasionally. It takes me back to a simpler thought, of when biking was slower, and pure joy. I want to have that again, and I don’t want to give up what I have built. I guess there’s always a “mailbox” to chase, mine is finding that balance. Or something…

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  2. For me it is almost always a cyclist up ahead that turns out to be a mailbox … even when I have ridden a particular stretch dozens of times and know better. So I know that illusion well, but had always made a different guess about the blog name: When I am really tired, sometimes it is necessary to break a ride down into tiny pieces lest I give up entirely. Just to the next control. Just to the top of the hill. Just to that mailbox.

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  3. Thanks for the post, I love reading your blog and your and Falkerino’s adventures.

    I turn 68 this weekend and have for the most part led a very active life, I’ve run 5 marathons, bike raced at Cat 2 level in the early ’70s, did triathlons, cross-country ski race at the elite level and swam competitively into my mid ’40s. I’ve also done many thousands of miles of self supported touring. While each of these endeavors has had their own level of satisfaction, I’ve found that riding, swimming and running were the best for grounding me, each was their own form of meditation a way for me to re-center and get present.

    15 years ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis which, brought many side effects and challenges, however, five years ago I decided it was time to get active again no matter what the consequences. I bought a Sam Hillbourne and set out to recenter myself. I learned that I could not ride clip-in pedals, nor could I return to, toe clips and slotted cleats, the RA had caused me to lose the ability to make the small motor movements required,instead I ride flat VP downhill pedals.

    Getting back on the bike has re-centered and grounded me, and I keep pushing the edges, listening to my body, and staying present with each pedal stroke. Each mile recalls the joy of commuting to work, of smelling the air, seeing old and young folks and hearing the sounds of the road.

    Thanks for reminding us of the joy of moving meditation, of being present to ourselves and our world.

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  4. I grew up in rural Oregon so of course the sight of mailboxes standing sentinel at the ends of driveways is familiar to me. Yet I have never cycled country roads in Oregon or indeed anywhere else in the US, so it had not occurred to me how mailboxes might look in the distance to an approaching randonneur. (Here in the UK, mail is delivered through letterboxes — yes, the postman has to walk up and down each and every driveway.)

    My own long rides through the night feature hallucinations of movement where there is none, but not mirages where objects take on other forms. Fascinating insight.

    And thank you for answering the question so beautifully and evocatively.

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