The Real Beauty of Cycling? Simplicity.

“Don’t buy upgrades.  Ride up grades.”
-Eddy Merckx

Peloton wants me to join  the movement.  Their advertisements have been popping up on the web pages I visit.  They somehow got the idea that I am their target market but they are wrong.  The last thing in the world I’m going to spend money on is a stationary bike with a video screen.  I already get more than enough screen time.

The places I’ve been…

I thought about this on my ride yesterday.  The wind was gentle and the temperature was in the 40s.  It was pleasant, at least compared to the last couple of weeks.  There were birds and deer and coyotes along the trail, all getting ready for the snow that’s on the way in tonight and tomorrow.  I’m not sure how they know it’s coming, but they do.

Ride up grades.  I think I understand.  When you’re out on a bike, you feel even the slightest slope and because you feel it you learn to see the natural world differently than you would if you were in a car or even walking.    I couldn’t imagine cycling indoors at this point.  I need the wind and the weather in my face to feel alive.  I need real hills.

Strip it all away and the real beauty of cycling is its inherent simplicity.   No matter where you live, you can probably walk down the street on trash day and pick up a free bike.  You don’t need a special uniform or other equipment to ride it.  You don’t really even need a helmet.  The people who ride bikes most often…the Dutch and the Danes…typically don’t wear headgear.

But simple is not profitable and so everywhere I look it seems like people are trying to make cycling more complicated than it needs to be in order to monetize it.  It’s sometimes easy to get swept up in all of this and think that we need the latest and greatest stuff.  We don’t.

Pure cycling is so simple that anyone from a young child to an elderly person can do it and if they do it will  make them feel better, no matter how little or how much they do it.   It is truly tragic that more of us don’t.