Is there Zen in Cycling?

April 22, 2010

(You may need to increase the font size of this essay to enhance your reading pleasure – to do so hold down Ctrl and press + )

People these days just want to keep their life simple and grief free. They’re sick and tired of endless hype, spin and saccharine laced narratives – I’ve registered in my regular night rides – have been doing that a lot these days even when it rains. Don’t know any other way to smoke or drink less I guess.

These days if you really take the trouble to noticed bicycles are beginning to resemble the same make up of your off the shelves Bangladeshi expatriate single gear bike – that means, unlike my bike and probably yours that has 24 or 36 speeds and loads of stuff from disc brakes, shifters, derailleurs etc – it’s all stripped down to its elemental basic diamond shaped zen minimalist form.

Why have fixed gears returned? Well one reason may have to do with how complicated life is these days – the great thing about fixed gears they’re like blank canvasses; you ride as fast or slow as you want; you ride under your own terms and the best part of it is; it’s so stripped down and Spartan, it’s simplicity and purity in every sense of the word – it’s clean, uncluttered and provides plenty of room for self exploration.

Came across this one ridden by a pretty nice girl (she’s a head doctor, so I guess I can probably get free medical advice on the side as well); first thing she said to me was: hey! You look like a hummer  on two wheels! Are we at war? – I exclaimed sheepishly: well I ride cross country alot – she just shrugged her shoulders and mumbled you look like a paratrooper to me – what’s with all the stuff you’re carrying? They look industrial? – I just ignored her (that’s because I am no stranger to Siaow Char Bor’s) and just when I was ready to push off; this lady asked me to take some time to take a longer look at her single speed bike – so there we were two strangers sitting on a bench for a breather while she had a bike propped up against the railings beside mine.

After a while, I started to realize my tires looked more like motorbike wheels – and what’s with all the cables and stuff sticking out of it; a little while longer, the whole set up started looking more like a combine harvester; while her bike looked cleaner, simpler and infinitely much more fun to ride – maybe she has something there. Maybe, there’s a zen in bicycling after all. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Btw this is my Hummer…my shifter died on me on the return trip….maybe Miss head doctor is right….you decide.

Darkness 2010

If you are in the mood for travelling, do check out the latest Brotherhood Travelogue – check this out:  

 Munich – A Diary of strange events

Munich – The Heart of Darkness – Travelogue


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