The sound comes high and sweet on the wind, a swarm of bees, an alarm clock summoning you from a mid-afternoon nap, gravity’s slot machine paying out. It’s a signifier that all is right in the world, that you have won and the world’s bid to hold you still has not panned out. It’s how you know your friend, the one lagging behind, is ok. That high, sweet buzz of momentum regained.

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ASMR (Auto-sensory meridian response) is everywhere, maybe a way to reclaim the sensual from the pervasively digital. A ticking of pawls, a sliding of chains through jockey wheels. I am not a robot, our minds say. I am human, and I feel amaaaazzzziiiinnnggg.

One wheel up on the rock and a hard lurch forward, feet rising, all weight in the bars, willing the rear to come along for the ride. A quick skitter as tire tread meets crux, and then the whole world tips over and the bike rushes down again, free wheel singing. I am reborn, but as an 8-year-old. Youth springs eternal, echoes down the years, washes over me.

We are, all of us, climbing, arrayed against life’s steeps, sometimes losing sight of the top, losing faith that this effort will ever let up. A friend dies. We get sick. An unforeseen debt bursts onto the scene. And yet, the only way is forward, the only way is up. Grinding. Until not. And the road slackens, and then it drops, and the sound of the thing is euphoria, your breath hard, your heart thudding even as it recovers, your mind suddenly tuned to relief and to a speed that is your only fair reward.

Freewheeling is the sound of freedom, of everything ok, of a myopic optimism that ought to be cultivated. It is the mechanical manifestation of youth gone wild, of a well-tuned system, of a respite from all the other noise.

You know how this goes. If you love it, pass it on. Send it to a friend. To a stranger. Just send it.

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  1. dr sweets says
    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      From Defenders of the Faith. Sounds right.

  2. khal spencer says

    Former colleague, a few years younger than me, just departed the far shore. We raised a few beers to his departure yesterday afternoon. I wonder sometimes, when one is battling that last kilometer and know the red kite was just passed, what that last coast downhill feels like.

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