The least effort is expended, and the greatest efficiency is achieved when proper balance is reached. Cycling is all about balance. It’s the one thing about cycling that you never forget – you know the old saying, once you learn to ride a bike…
There’s more to bicycle balance than staying up on two wheels though, and balance for one person is certain to be different than balance for another.
- Some find it possible to give up motor vehicles altogether, being car-free.
- Some never cycle without first loading their bicycle onto their car’s rack and driving to the bicycle trail or track.
- Some cyclists follow vehicular cycling guidelines.
- Some ride wherever it feels good.
Just like anything else in life, good balance in cycling will bring you prolonged enjoyment, and greater happiness.
A recent article which received a lot of blog exposure, demonstrates how an all-or-nothing attitude can ruin the whole cycling experience for you. An Outdoor Magazine correspondent of all things, declares that it’s not possible to live with only a bicycle inAmerica. News flash; thousands of car-free families prove him wrong. But that’s OK. The article does show how addicted we are to instant gratification and comfort, and it really doesn’t prove we can’t live car-free, it only shows he was not willing to.
He was missing the crucial balance. Too much instant gratification and comfort = big fat lazy people like the Big Fat Geek of old. Too much cycling too soon = burn out. Why not a balance between the two? What if you simply used your bike for one out of ten trips? I’ll tell you what – you would soon graduate to one of nine, one of eight, and so on, until there was almost no such thing as too much cycling.
I enjoy a balance in my cycling experience and I know Moe and RL do as well. In fact, most cyclists I know who love to ride, enjoy a healthy balance in cycling. I know one racer who seems to be burned out most of the time, and thrives on pain. He would never take a leisurely ride to the store or coffee shop. That’s not for me, but to each his own. In fact, I’ll admit it – sometimes I cycle in blue jeans and a tee shirt. AND I have ridden on a sidewalk when it makes sense. I do usually ride vehicular style, but it’s stupid to cross a busy 5 lane road, travel 100 feet, then cross back over to turn left. I don’t want to be dead right. Balance is a necessity and a convenience at the same time. Balance is as practical as it is beautiful. Balance is everything. Don’t let an unbalanced load topple your cycling fun!
“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.”
~Elizabeth West, Hovel in the Hills