A Cycling Theory of Relativity

What people remember about Einstein’s two paradigm shifting works of genius, his Theories of Special and General Relativity can mostly be reduced to E=mc2, but that simple equation, while elegant, isn’t the crux of what he was saying about the universe. The thing both these theories focused on was the simple fact that no object has characteristics unto itself, but rather only in relation to some other object. Those relations are what turns out to be important for understanding how the universe works.

In our personal worlds, it’s our relationships.

And for bike riders, the more closely you are related to someone the more carefully you must ride with them. Relation, in this sense, does not require DNA, but rather considers the ‘strong force‘ of emotional connection. A bike ride is held together by “good feeling” as that interacts with the personal motivations of each participant. The potential for the whole thing to come apart and the various cyclists to go spinning off into space is high, and so it is critical we develop our Cycling Theory of Relativity to better understand the dynamic of the interaction and how to maintain equilibrium.

For close relationships we have isolated this equation: eQ=5E/C

Equilibrium requires five-times as much encouragement as coaching. What is notable here is that beyond a 5x ratio, a close relation will understand that you are patronizing them. Below 5x and you’re condescending. There is a fine line, and you must ride it, like a narrow bridge over deep water.

eQ=5E/C describes the base state where e=0 for your close relation, that is they have no real bike riding experience. Once they have left the base state, i.e., once they have begun to develop experience and corresponding skill, the equation will shift to look like this:

eQ=5E/C * e-1

Here equilibrium is a function of 5x encouragement per coaching event multiplied by the inverse of your close relation’s experience. This reduces the ratio of encouragement to coaching, as you get closer and closer to being equals on the bike.

It is tempting to believe that the balance gets easier to maintain as their experience grows, but actually, the larger the fraction becomes, move from 1/5 toward 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and eventually 1/1, the trickier it becomes, because coaching and encouragement will themselves become fractional. The narrow bridge becomes narrower. The water becomes colder.

My advice to you is to keep your eyes focused up trail, and to point the bike toward where you want it to go, trying to avoid looking down or becoming distracted by small obstacles on the way. But, hey, you’re doing a great job just being out there. These rides are challenging, but you’re up to it. To be able to share a great love with someone is a real gift.

You get the idea.

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  1. Antonio da Silva says

    Great article, many thanks.

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