Cyclists are creatures of habit, as such it’s become usual for me to keep my ‘inside bikes’ located in different rooms of the house. Not as a result of any irreconcilable differences, but in an effort to spread the love. A bicycle is a beautifully sculptured object that exists outside its function as a means of transportation.
So which bicycle to take today, Mr. Surly , Kenevan’s, the Iron horse, Violet Crumble, Fixie or the Vivente? I have a standing date every Sunday morning with my cycling mate Andy: “Same bat time, same bat place”. We ride, stop for coffee discuss and solve the problems of the world, then return.
I anthropomorphise my bikes, that is I attribute human qualities to what are actually inanimate objects. On long tours I’ve been known to have some very deep and meaningful conversations, with Mr. Surly in particular. Let’s just say I can relate to Tom Hanks character Chuck Noland and his friend Mr. Wilson the softball from the movie Castaway.
Touring cycling is both an expression of freedom, surrendering to the unknown mysteries of the road and a form of ritualistic behavior as you fall into a routine of cycle, camp, sleep, and repeat. Success on tour requires a mix of ability, persistence and perseverance with an element of good luck thrown in.
Experiments with golfers have shown that they sink the putt 35% more if they believe they are using a lucky golf ball. Evidently it has something to do with a focused mindset and confidence. Luck’s on their side I guess.
When it comes to good luck charms and mascots, Therese and I agree they have to find you. So it was no real surprise that Pokey , Gumby’s orange pony pal, was waiting for us at a roadside stop somewhere in California. Pokey hitched a ride halfway across Europe before he galloped off on his own accord, no doubt to continue his journey as a mascot for others.
In an age of “alternative facts’ how many of us are prepared to admit that our lives are guided at least to some extent by the magic of our own making?