I recently had some of the students whom we mentored over for lunch to catch up with our lives. One fo them has gotten into bicycle riding in a serious way, to the point hat he’s contemplating turning pro in the near future. Though I hadn’t ridden in a long time for multiple reasons, his presence reminded me of how much I enjoyed the bike experience, and recalled the following essay from my archives.
It should be on sale in a drugstore, available on prescription. The bicycle is without a doubt the best medicine for the city; also for the countryside and the mountains. It is a universal language. It moves silently, occasionally tinkling or ringing out (the Amsterdam sound), placing a layer of rubber between our calves and the asphalt. It’s the ideal synapse (contact between two cells) for understanding the city with its melancholy moods, utopias and paradoxes, its odors and aromas. You can step off of it, and out of its frame to gain a fresh perspective. Insults aren’t necessary, as cyclists are generally people of goodwill.
The world may feel fast and furious, a rough and tumble place, but the cyclist is immune to all that, arriving more or less at the same time as those rushing headlong about. So we should all take two wheels to discover cities, beginning with our own, gliding along like finger sliding across a misted-up window, gathering the sweet nectar of an endless leisurely ride; gazes exchanged with others, a patch of the sky, a new place for coffee. The bike is the voice of freedom, but also of knowledge. You can talk to people on a bike, for speech is within its sphere, not drowned out by engine noise. What I most like is the sensual dimension of cycling, when your body merges with the flow of the air, and you become a part of a different cosmos, leaving no trace behind, just a sillage. For the bicycle is akin to the realm of perfumes. Like them, it has a changing, evanescent, silent dimension, verging on essence. It is essential.
This is a beautiful poem in prose form 👌
Thank you for your kind words 🙂 Happy New year!
Such a beautiful tribute to the bicycle!
I absolutely love everything you have described here about cycling! I totally agree! You’re right, it is just a layer of rubber between ourselves and the asphalt, and we as the cyclist experience the city’s moods, utopias, aromas…wonderful essay, Jorge! 🙂