Editorial by Tom Demerly.
The world is a small place now. Many times, painfully
But on a bicycle it becomes
large again. And you can get far away.
Thank God (or whatever you're
into) for that.
If you don't agree
then you've never faced that nasty phenomenon coming
back from Northville toward Dearborn on a spring afternoon.
You seem to fight a head wind all the way out (about
17 miles), do a loop around Northville, then somehow
face the same wind all the way back. Right in your face.
As soon as you make that swing around back to Dearborn
and feel that wind you realize you are far away.
Far away is good now, because the inexorable course
of history that looms so close is oppressively sad right now.
Regardless of where you stand on this- its "rightness"
or "wrongness", it doesn't matter anymore. It's happening
and the world is becoming a painfully small place once again.
Sometime soon the telegrams of sacrifice will
start coming. Right now cowering men of another flag and tongue
chant morning prayers to a rising sun that offers no hope, only
foreboding and fear. And although we are members of the same
species, for some reason we can't find a way to make it work.
So the wheels are turning down the path of another truth, another
reality, another course of history.
Hopefully, history will remember our cause as
just, our sacrifice as noble, our courage and will as admirable.
Because each is exerted at a heavy cost, soon to come due. Like
many times before, our country shoulders the burden. Like many
times before, we do it mostly alone. And like many times before,
we hope this is the right thing to do in the grand scheme of
things. Only history will tell.
So with all this heavy stuff and the pervasive
jabber of CNN, MSNBC, ABC, BBC, Al Jazeera, Reuters, etc., etc.
you can surely treasure something as benign and innocent as
your bike and a bike ride that seems to take you so far away
in a world that has become so small. And therein lies the value
of a bike. On a bike the world is once again a ponderously huge
place. It's easy to get far away.
Have you ever noticed that the time you spend
on your bike seems so separate from the rest of your life? That
when you step back off the bike at the end of the ride there
is a distinct "re-entry" into the real world. Ever
notice the odd stares you get in your bike clothes when you
stop at a coffee shop after a ride? You are wearing the traditional
costume of a land far away. The land of bicycles. It may as
well be the traditional garb of the Whirling Dervish or the
penis gourd habiliments of Dana Tribesman in Irian Jaya. In
full cycling regalia you are from a place far away. And that
place is peaceful and innocent. Other than the occasional mention
of what a guy Lance Armstrong is, CNN, MSNBC and all the others
pretty much ignore our world, and that's just fine. There really
isn't much going on here.
So treasure the peaceful world we share on our
bikes. It is a haven unlike any other. As cyclists we carry
that world within ourselves. A peaceful world where strife is
limited to headwinds and hills and flat tires. The only sacrifices
we make are lending a spare inner tube or bottle of water. The
only losses we suffer to an accident or twist of fate, but never
to intention or malice or will.
This week and in the weeks to come no doubt the
precious gift of spring becomes even more valuable as we search
for moments away from the fray that is this world. And the bicycle
is the best way to revel in that gift. A gift of renewal and
solitude and peace and promise. A good way to get far away from
a world fraught with anger and fear, into another place where
our only adversaries are hills and headwinds.