when you ride?
I get asked this a lot, and I suppose that it has something to do with an issue of size. Put a different way, "What does it feel like to ride a bike, and be that big [and even bigger back then]?".
Well, it felt horrible at 501 pounds.
Everything [including Life] was excruciating: the slowness, the pain in my legs/back/ass/balls/feet/hands/shoulders/neck/my psyche... all of it-and probably lots more that I've pushed out of my brain. But it also felt 1001% fantastic... because I started doing it. Me, Myself and I. I took shit from nearly everyone that saw me, and I knew I would too [in a different life I might have been one of those heartless fuckers who gave me shit too~though I doubt it], and I still take shit now [but mostly I don't care... I just get pissed at morons in general but that's not a weight issue, that's a humanity/society thing with me]. I didn't measure anything other than half-blocks traveled, "If I can get to that building... if I can get to that corner... if I can get to the next building... ".
I have a very good friend, who once dropped some very good advice on me, "If you wanna do something big, I mean HUGE... you cannot look up ever, not even for a second or you'll realize the insanity of it and drop. No man, you've got to Baby-Step the bitch: whether it be 60 minutes ahead or 1 minute ahead or 1 second ahead... or 1 mile ahead, or 200 yards ahead, or one toe-length ahead, you gotta go slow, head down, blinders on, game face intact, vessels popping, committed, focused, driven and most of all, S-L-O-W". I've applied that lesson and those words to every fucking second of every minute of every day since November 2005, and never once not thought it, felt it and tried my best to live by it.
What does it feel like now...
I dig all of it [even when I feel like I might not]. The Pre-Ride ritual of grabbing cell, filling water bottle, donning clothes/jackets/balaclava/gloves/helmet, throwing a few things in my bag, keys, doors/lock doors, down the stairs, and off...
Kicking off down the sidewalk and off onto the street, deciding where I want to go/what I want to see, family ride or solo, maybe I'll go to the Statue of Liberty or Hoboken, the nice hum of derailleur and low "mmmmmmm" of tire tread rolling on the streets. If I take the boardwalk from Hoboken to JC to Bayonne... I dig the rhythmic "flak-ka-flak-ka-flak-ka" of my tires going over the wooden slats on all the twists and turns of pressure-treated wood.
People watching is always cool when I start feeling like I'm focusing on a temporary cycle-related discomfort or some other thing... how no matter what you do, some folks can't look up while walking toward you on a mixed-use walkway-deep in thought, cell phone speak, rifling through a bag or purse, pondering life, who knows: they just keep coming at you and you do whatever you can to let them know [bell, clack your brake levers, brake down, slow up, sometimes dismount, sometimes a smile-other times a glare and eye roll], it provides something of value [even frustration, if everything in the tank is running low enough].
What gets me the most, what I really love, what I'll stay out for hours to find though... is "Rhythm". That unreal feeling where the bike feels no longer like a Bike, it melds into me and almost knows what I'm going to do before I think it, realize it, intend it, act on it... it's Strong, Powerful, Affirming, Life-Changing, Omnipotent, Micro, Universal and most of all:
That's what it feels like... and that's why I cannot stop, ever.
Don't you ever, too.