Friday, October 3, 2008


my mother asked me the other day if I was perhaps obsessed with cycling.
I laughed, and replied, of course not, then canceled our lunch date so I could go for a 50-mile ride before the clouds moved in.
no, I didn't.
then there's the article in this month's issue of Bicycling magazine (to which I have a subscription, but please note that this was given to me by a friend; I didn't ask for it, either) called, Are You Addicted to Cycling? I read the teaser on the cover, then immediately turned to that page and skimmed the article (I didn't have time to read it, as I was getting ready to go for a ride), to see whether or not I met the criteria.

so, am I? am I not?
after my mom asked the question, she went on to say, as long as you don't need to do it . . . and then she qualified that statement by saying, well, I do need to do my walking . . .
and there's the rub. I love to bike, and it's an activity that is good for me. at what point does one cross over from healthy levels of activity/fitness to obsession and addiction?
what I know is that I have not made that cross.
how do I know this?
because I drag myself out of bed or off the couch to go riding, and I am almost always thrilled when it is over. on a day off I am grateful. I love to sleep in and ignore my bike. all of these indicate that I still possess some level of sanity around my cycling. on top of all those, I have never maxed my credit card out at the bike shop, and though I may have bike and gadget envy, I can patiently await the day when I can afford to buy my new toys. (that's because, remember, I have thoroughly learned patience in this life.)
therefore, I deduce that I am neither obsessed by nor addicted to cycling.
there are a few points on the other side, however . . .
such as my odometer reading and commitment to reaching that next big number.
such as my determination to keep riding each morning, dark as it is.
such as my dislike of stopping along the way to smell the roses: I catch enough of the fragrance as I ride past.

when I first started riding regularly, my path took me through many neighborhoods. and on my "recovery days" I still often wind through streets with houses, sidewalks, yards, and gardens. that first summer I saw so many different styles of gardens and yards, and was amazed by how many truly beautiful homes there are. so very many people must take great pride in how they care for their homes and yards, and I love this about riding through neighborhoods.
what it made me think of was that I should carry around a pad of paper and pen, and leave notes for people. "Your yard is stunning ~ it is pure pleasure to ride past your house" -type notes. "Your house is gorgeous, and you take wonderful care of your yard--thanks!" and then sometimes it would be, "Are you aware that you have a broken sprinkler head by the driveway that is gushing, 6am, Tuesday?"
but I have yet to put paper and pen in my pocket.
because then I would have to stop along the way, which doesn't fit with my cycling life.
which leads me to think I'm a little too addicted to the whole pattern of get up-ride-get home, do it again tomorrow.
yes, I said addicted.

someday, I think, I will be calm enough to go for a leisurely ride with a small notebook and a pen. and I will stop every time I want to write a note to a homeowner. I will write it, put my bike down, and go tuck the note in the mailbox. then pick my bike up and ride away, off to find the next beautiful yard.

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