Saturday, March 11, 2017

Talk about suffering

In the bike world, particularly in the racing area, there is a lot of talk about "suffering."  Some events, races and whatnot, are called "sufferfests" and the voluntary suffering that happens at these events is worn as a badge of honor.

But there is the voluntary suffering that happens at these events, and there is the tragedy that arises from actual suffering.  I know, I know -- you're thinking, "OMG, is this about bikes or what?" Yes, it is.

In This Road I Ride, Juliana Buhring talks about the tragic and horrific loss of her lover.  She turned her suffering into a round-the-world bike tour.

The adventurer Jill Homer documents the end of a long-term relationship in Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across The Great Divide. Despite (or because of) the suffering resulting from that, she rode the Tour Divide.

You can draw the inference here that suffering makes a person want to move. To ride a bicycle for instance.

The inference I draw is that there is something about riding a bicycle that alleviates suffering. Moving quickly under your own power, being independent of anything else, feeling the wind...being out and about and in your own head at the same time. And also that we're instinctively drawn to it.

I know that many people have said much the same thing about cycling: that they feel more free when riding a bike.

That's really all I'm thinking about right now. I'll be funnier next time, I promise.


  1. I find the rhythmic turning of the pedals heals heartache. Both when my father and father-in-law died in the past two years I went out for a long, thoughtful bicycle ride. It helps to connect me with the greater world and those that have entered a new realm. As you point out, many of us feel that way.

    1. That's a good point about "[connection] with the greater world." I've never been able to put that into words, but that's exactly how a bike ride makes me feel. I think the closest I've come to expressing that is "yeah, it's cold and my nose is running, but at least I'm not stuck in a car..."