TCI Friday

TCI Friday is a group exercise. I write. You read and comment.

For Xmas this year, we drove 17 hours to spend 3 hours with my mother-in-law, who is coming back from some not-awesome brain surgery. We decided to leave all the presents at home, for later, and so the usual family ritual, waking up to cinnamon rolls, sitting around and swapping gifts, was replaced with a quick walk with the dog in the freezing cold, so he could move his bowels before we headed to a family brunch.

It was a good thing to do, the right thing, and yet it left us all feeling like something was missing. As we walked back in the door after the 10-hour return drive on Boxing Day, my 15-year-old said, “Well, worst Christmas ever!” and laughed.

It got me thinking about rituals and their worth.

On the bike, I have some practical and sensible ones, like the way I take the bike I’m going to ride out of the rack, lifting the front by the stem and letting it drop, listening for rattles. Then I check tires and roll the chain over backwards to check its state of lubrication. By now, I know how these things sound and feel, and they let me leave the house feeling good about the bike, not to mention saving me from dumb problems out on the road/trail.

I also have some dumb ones. For example, when there’s a rock of a certain size on the side of the trail, I’ll hop just my rear wheel as I pass it, kissing the tire off the rock’s face, and then yell, “That’s a make!” This almost always elicits eyerolls from my riding companions, which I find deeply gratifying.

A ritual helps you feel more grounded, more comfortable with your life. It’s a way of signifying that you’re ready to move forward, or a way of getting closure on a bad situation.

This week’s TCI Friday wonders what your best bike rituals are. When did you develop them? And how have they saved your bacon? Extra points for dumb ones.

Join the conversation
  1. khal spencer says

    I always carry more water than I think I will need. Here in the Southwest where the wind can be a blowtorch in the summer, it is a good idea.

  2. johnrom719 says

    My dumb ritual is very dumb. I always, always forget at least one thing and have to make another trip upstairs to get gloves, helmet, you name it. I have tried checklist, double checking around the room before I go downstairs and nothing works. I think the extra trip is just part of what I do unconsciously. I have ritualized idiocy.

  3. trabri says

    When I commute to work I listen to an episode of Revolting. When I don’t have a new one to play I actually question going to work that day. I struggle to ride the bike path without it.

    1. Emlyn Lewis says

      @trabri – This seems like a completely reasonable approach. Your co-workers ought to understand that.

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