Thursday, October 25, 2018

Getting ahead, one leg at a time

There are three different ways of going about riding a bike.

The most intuitive way is to give it your all and effort to maintain maximum speed, Tour de France style, where it is all muscle all the time. Full speed ahead, legs thumping and whooshing. Oontz oontz oontz oontz. Faster, harder, overtake that Scooter. This usually occurs when you are in a hurry to get somewhere, want the exercise, or simply have not thought too hard about how to go about biking.

Then there is the economical way, where you effort just enough to get the bike into enough sufficiently sustained momentum that you can move forward without additional input. Just keep on rolling, maybe lean forward a bit, until more power is required. Then repeat the process as many times as necessary, alternating between building momentum and effortlessly moving forward. Eventually, you'll get where you are going, minimum effort style.

And then there is the low-speed high effort method, where you effort just enough to get moving, but not enough to actually move at sustained speed, and thus have to continually apply leg power to move at a crawl. Friction and gravity keeps on slowing down the bike to such an extent that every pedal push becomes akin to the initial oomph to transition from standstill to motion. Previous efforts do not accumulate or help you sustain momentum, and every iota of speed has to be reestablished anew every step along the way.

At this point, you might be asking yourself - is this some sort of metaphor for life in general, where the different modes of biking represent different approaches to everyday activities and how to approach them? Or, possibly also, different states of mind that a person might slip into as they go about doing the thing called being alive?

To which I say: yes. Yes it is.