“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” —1 Corinthians 13:11
When I rode seriously, I gathered serious stuff: a Silca pump, a CONI manual, a 13-19 freewheel, a racing license, crocheted gloves, tubular tires and other serious items.
I listened to racers, read about racing, trained to race, raced, thought about racing, and repeated all those activities.
It took me a few years to realize I didn’t actually like racing; a few more years before I realized that bicycle racers were not, in fact, the best bicycle riders in the world; that there wasn’t such a thing as the best bicycle rider in the world; that Merckx, the greatest bicycle racer in the world, had little to say about bicycle commuting; that LeMond, the greatest American bicycle racer in the world, had little to say about riding a recumbent; that Moser, one of a great line of Italian bicycle racers—Italy being, to my mind, the greatest bicycle racing country in the world (aside from Belgium, of course)—, had little to say about the pleasures of riding without a goal, of drawing coffee cups on a bicycle frame, or of coasting downhill catching the wind like a sail on a boat going backwards.
But my racing years were far from a waste of time. Just like my parents gave me something important to evaluate, to rebel against, and to add to my personal mythology of context, racing lead me to a greater appreciation of everything about the bicycle that didn’t involve turning a wheel in anger.
And, hey, I’ve still got the pump.
April 28, 1 mile.