Welcome to Bicycles and Icicles: The Poetry Edition. You may now put on a beret and brooding countenance as you sip your European coffee and think deep, meaningful thoughts. What? You mean you don’t like to . . . oh, screw it. Go ahead and sit there with your helmet hair and your mud-splattered water bottle full of recovery drink. But check out “This Shining Moment in the Now” over at The Writer’s Almanac.
There’s something about manual labor that—just like riding singletrack—clears the mind. But pedaling a bike is a hell of a lot more fun than pulling weeds out of the garden. On a trail, the world boils down to the essentials. All those things you're thinking about, yet not thinking about because they've become automatic calculations made at that fine line between consciousness and unconsciousness: How deep is the stream crossing? How big is the drop? Can the big ring clear the log? How much speed do I need to scrub off to make the switchback? Why is Ray flying spread-eagle into that tree? There’s no room for thinking about real-world problems like bills, broken appliances or the price of gasoline. Zen. It’s a beautiful thing.