This is post #1500 of Midlife Cycling.
When I started this blog, I had no idea of how long it would run or how many posts I’d write—or, for that matter, on which aspects of cycling and my experiences as a cyclist I would focus.
I’m not sure that I’ve focused anything in particular, save for cycling. I’ve written about whatever strikes my fancy. In a few cases, it didn’t have much to do with bicycles or bicycling. Nobody’s complained about anything I’ve done, so I guess I shouldn’t worry.
(Speaking of which: I’ve published all of the comments I’ve received, except for the ones that are obviously spam or that were filtered and I somehow managed to miss.)
Last month, this blog had another milestone: five years online. Time really does march—or roll, or spin—onward. That fact has made me think about the title of this blog: Midlife Cycling. When I posted for the first time, I was what most people would consider “middle-aged”. I would not resist such a label: Because of changes in myself, and the world around me, I knew I was past my youth, at least in some senses. And, a few days ago, I was reminded that I am getting closer to what the US and most Western (or Westernized) cultures consider a “senior citizen”.
On the other hand, because of those changes in myself, I was beginning some aspects of my life all over again. That was as true of my cycling as anything else: I knew that I wasn’t going to be the lycra-clad racer (or wannabe) I was earlier in my life. Then again, I knew that, in some way, I never was that person, at least in spirit. Sure, I trained and gained the admiration and respect of some of my old riding partners—and a few racing rivals. But, as much as I love cycling, it was never the only thing in my life. When I did Tour de France climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees, I was as proud of my ability to talk to local people in their language as I was of making the climbs.
Also, I tried to maintain a classic aesthetic—or a modern adaptation of it—as bicycle technology evolved. I am not a pedant who wants her bikes to look just like the ones made in 1950 or some other time before she was born. At the same time, I always wanted my bikes to be pretty—and I don’t consider the Darth Vader shapes or cartoonish graphics of too many parts and bikes made today.
In other words, I have always been in the process of becoming, as a cyclist and in other areas of my life. I guess that’s as it should be in the middle of one’s life: Contrary to received wisdom, I don’t think “middle age” is a time for settling or an interlude between youth and old age. I think that if you’re in the middle of anything, something is rubbing off on you or you are rubbing it off. You are then not in a cycle of decay or decline.
That makes me think of something someone—a psychologist, I think—said: You’re always middle-aged because, as long as you don’t know when your life is going to end, you’re in the middle of it. So, perhaps, as long as I’m riding or writing, I will reach other milestones on this blog, and in my life, without having to change the title of this blog.