Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Inspiration and Humility

I woke up Monday morning, and I thought, "I don't wanna ride today." It was cold, and I was tired from being up with a sick kid. I'm near the end of a good book. It was one of those rare moments when riding didn't seem like the thing to do.

Then, as I was checking in on the laptop over breakfast, I got an email from the Cyclosaur asking me a question about fixed gear bicycles. And truthfully, I could write all I know about fixed gear bikes on a grain of rice, with a Sharpie. I ride one every day, but I'm no expert.


It got me thinking about riding. "Fuck it!" I thought. "I'm gonna ride." It was all the inspiration I needed.

Then last night I watched the last two stages of Paris-Nice, which I had recorded on Sunday. I knew what was going to happen. I'd read all about it on Velo News, but seeing guys race and reading about it are two different things. Reading about it gets you information. Seeing it is inspiring.

So I rode again today, despite spending more time sleeping on the floor next to a feverish child last night.

Which brings me to humility. Sometimes, especially when I'm tired, I ride as though I own the road. I look for drivers to pick fights with. I'm angry, and I'm on the prowl for someone to get it all over.

So this morning I got cut off by a guy in an SUV. I gave him the shrug sign and yelled, "What the FUCK?" He lurched forward in his seat, as though he was jumping out of the truck to fight me. I bid him fuck himself. And then I rode off.

Now, the old me would have stewed over this all the way to work. Self-righteous anger would cloud my head. And, if I'm honest, the same thing started to happen this morning.

So I stopped.

I pulled over, got off the bike and stood for a few minutes until I felt I could ride on humbly, which is to say, without acting like I was the only one in the world. Because whether that guy was right or wrong is immaterial. After the conflict I had to go on riding my bike. I could either stew and miss the whole ride, rolling along on angry autopilot, or I could pull back, adjust attitude and enjoy the rest of my route.

I chose the latter. I think I chose well.

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