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Far Away.
Editorial by Tom Demerly.

Tom with the King

The world is a small place now. Many times, painfully small.

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.


© Tom Demerly, Bikesport Inc.
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