Fear and the Bicycle

January 20, 2010

Blosting. This is fun. See, I already made up a word, but it's cool, it's the internet (is that supposed to be capitalized?) This being my first blost, I'm just going to flat out say I'm not sure what I'll be blosting about. But I do know that I'll be blosting once a month. Sometimes it might be about issues that concern adventure cycling: bike camping, rough riding, bicycle travel, bicycle touring — choose whichever term makes you comfy — other times it might about commuting issues, bike racing, mountain biking, kickstands, groupos, (is that still a word?), handlebars, or even BMX. Just kidding — no BMX.

Keep in mind, this isn't my column for Adventure Cyclist. Chances are I'll be writing about subjects that relate to my favorite bicycling magazine, but in these blosts I'm going to be a bit more free to discuss things that are on my mind. I mean, that's what blosting is about, right, what's on the bloster's mind. So, no promises — except it won't be about subjects unrelated to bicycling or the bicycle. The beauty of that promise is that I think I can relate almost any subject to bicycling. So hang on to your hats, the Mental Calisthenics blost is going to be an interesting ride — get it?

So let's unleash this first blost with a subject that's always intrigued me — fear of the unknown. Most people I interact with think I'm a bit off kilter because I'd rather load up a bike and head off to various points around the globe, including these comparatively tractable United States, than sit on a beach and talk about the finer points of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, mortgage-backed securities, or precision German automobiles. But when the conversation shifts to riding a bicycles — the same non-threatening machine we all rode from the ages of 5 to 15 — stupefaction sets in. So what's changed since those days when one would lovingly decorate and even name their favorite machine?

But my premise is already in tatters. I typed "fear of the unknown", but the bicycle is anything but unknown. (Now I realize there are people who have never ridden a bicycle, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's a small minority, and it's an even smaller minority who have never heard of a bicycle.) Let's face it, the real issues are the fear of physical effort, the fear of how one will be perceived, the fear for one's safety, or a combination of all three. I hold other reasons as well, but these are my front runners.

So the bicycle is a known, and that's what my blosts will be about — things related to the bicycle that I think I know. At least that's what I think.


AND THEN THE MENTAL CALISTHENICS is written by Mike Deme, editor of Adventure Cyclist and publications director for Adventure Cycling Association.


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