Riding There

Fez asked where we were going, and I said I didn’t know. We were pedaling along at a pretty good clip, and he had inferred some sense of urgency, a need to get somewhere, so he was slightly puzzled by my answer.

At root, every ride is point A to point B , even when A=B. You’re going somewhere. Even an aimless and unplanned ride has a beginning and end.

Fez is a good guy to ride with. He readily embraces absurdity, which is sometimes all I can manage, so I didn’t hesitate to say to him, “Right now, we’re just riding to the ride.” You can’t pull shit like that with just anyone. He took that in and laughed, and said, “OK, what does that mean?”

Here’s what I said to him, more or less: Fez, what are we out here for? To ride bikes? Why? Well, because at some point we’ll stop thinking about whatever we were thinking about before, and we’ll even stop thinking about riding, and we’ll just be riding. That’s the ride. It’s calm and peaceful, and it’s entirely sufficient unto itself. That’s what we’re out here for. So right now, we’re riding until we get to that place. I don’t know where it is or how to get there, except that we have to pedal and move and hope we find it.

Fez is a meditation teacher. The meta-nonsense I had just spewed did not strike him as unreasonable. We backed off the cadence and commenced with idle chatter. Occasionally we conferred on general direction, quickly making our navigational decisions, and then went back to whatever we were talking about. In order to get there, wherever it ends up being, you can’t hurry. It’s a goal you can never quite achieve by looking at it directly.

It is also not a flow state, which is an intensification of experience, but rather a sort of similar self-forgetting, but at lower intensity. Is it the lazy person’s flow? Maybe. Hard to say. Probably.

Eventually, Fez and I got there. The uncultivated admixture of pedaling and movement and chatter and weather and terrain delivered the goods. But of course, it is surpassingly difficult to stay there all the way to the end of the ride, especially if where you’re going, ultimately, is home. At some point we realized we were tired, and that simple realization broke whatever spell we’d cast on ourselves.

I am no longer disappointed when the spell breaks. I’m not greedy. It’s enough for me just to have gotten there at all. Often, when I’m here at the keyboard, working out ideas, or reading my to-do list for the 13th time of the day, getting there is what I crave, what I daydream about. And I suspect it’s what’s on your mind too.

Join the conversation
  1. khal spencer says

    Tee hee. Sometimes the trip is more interesting than the destination, even if we don’t know where we are going until we get there. Wherever “there” is.

  2. John Rezell says

    To quote Buckaroo Bonzai, “No matter where you go, there you are”

  3. Balky says

    Such a good write-up. The essence of riding bikes. Thanks for this.

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