Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

31 December 2012

What The End Of This Year Means For Me

From Leica 1956.

In recent years, it's seemed that the ending of the year has more or less coincided with the beginning of winter.  There have been exceptions, of course, such as the winter-that-barely-was a year ago.  But in my recent memory, in this part of the world, the death of a year, if you will, has mirrored the death of so much else.

At least cycling has been a constant in most years.  One of the exceptions came three years ago, when I was recuperating from surgery.  But, in most winters, whatever cycling I'm able to do makes the weeks and months of barren, wizened trees and old people in old, sometimes frayed coats that have survived other seasons seem like people and things encountered on a journey rather than signals of death.

And although I did no Grand Tours or any other monumental rides, I am happy and thankful for the cycling I have done.  For reasons I haven't discussed, and won't discuss, on this blog (After all, they''re not reasons why you come to this blog!), the past year has been difficult for me.  Some might say that I was coming down, finally, from the euphoria I experienced after making a change I'd wanted for as long as I can remember.  Maybe they're right.  But cycling has not merely masked the pain or discontent I've felt; it has always helped me to see that conditions such as those are (or, at least, need) not be permanent.

So has keeping this blog.  That makes sense when you realize that writing has been, along with cycling, one of the enduring passions of my life.  The fact that I continue to do both shows me the necessity of living in the moment as well as the foolishness of living for it, or of believing that every moment will be an extension of the present, or even the past.  So, while I know that I have been in better physical condition--and that I have written things that some people would say are better than anything I've written on this blog, or during the past year, as long as I keep on pedaling and writing, I know that there can be change.  I take that back: There will always be change. What riding and writing show me is that One kind of change or another (save, perhaps, for getting older) is not inevitable; while I may not ever regain the form I had in my youth, I can always improve my conditioning and, perhaps, do different kinds of riding from what I did in those days.  I may not conquer mountains again because I may not need to.  But there will always be a journey, and all I can do is to keep on pedaling and writing, and do whatever goes along with them.

N.B.:  Check out Leica 1956, where I found the photo I've included in this post.


  1. In the final analysis, each of us is our own highest judge. At least upon the Earth...

  2. Since the world didn't end on 21 December, I guess we need only to worry about Earth.

  3. I find that cycling soothes me and keeps me feeling like my true self even when I am struggling with problems in my life. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not found it again. I really enjoy your writing and your wisdom about bikes. I am once again considering a Mercian having just booked a holiday in Derbyshire! I will be rading your archives for inspiration.

    Jennifer in Scotland

  4. Jennifer--Thank you for your kind response. I understand what you mean when you say cycling keeps you feeling like your true self. There were times when I felt I was my true self only when I was pedaling two wheels.

    Get that Mercian!