The aim of the club is to meet up, have a ride, make friends and be mindful.
Cycling is such a great way to get from A to B, people sometimes forget you can ride aimlessly. As the old Zen proverb puts it: ‘I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.’ You probably did this thousands of times as a kid – cycling wherever your fancy took you, just ‘going on a bike ride’. Why not try it again one day, when the traffic is light and you’ve no other commitments. As you go along slowly, see if you have any impulses to plan your route, head towards somewhere in particular, or speed up. Allow these thoughts to pass by like clouds. Notice them – but don’t judge them. Gently bring your attention back to the present moment, so you can decide where to go when you go. Maybe you’ll nose down a back alley into a cul-de-sac. Who cares? Maybe you’ll find a stream in a wood and an old wooden bridge with ‘Penny loves John’ carved into it. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get lost. Who dares? Going on a bike ride is such fun, and it’s a different adventure every time.
Through cycling we keep our balance – poised between the extremes of left, right, forward and back. But, above all, we keep happy, brimming with the benefits of a fully fledged philosophy. On a bike we experience the magical joy of curiosity; the exhilaration of a mind in free flow; the warm glow of belonging and contributing to a community; and the awe inspired by nature’s wildness, or humanity at its most profound. On a bike we discover what Einstein knew all along – that whatever life throws at us, everything is alright.
We rarely take time to appreciate the many clever mechanisms that make modern life so convenient. Some represent thousands of years of progress, yet we typically use mechanical devices mindlessly, without sparing a thought for the ingenuity that went into creating them. Next time you encounter a working bicycle, take a moment to admire its mechanical brilliance. Notice the chain. See how its alternating series of bushings and pins connect to make a flexible but strong spine, which embraces sets of toothy sprockets on the pedal shaft and rear wheel. See how the pedals spin on their own axes while the cranks turn, just as the moon spins while the earth rotates around the sun. Lift the handlebars slightly to raise the front wheel off the ground. Turn the wheel, observing the circle it traces in the air. Notice the whirring spokes, and imagine how cleverly they enable the whole wheel to deform as it hits the ground before returning to its original shape, as a squashed tennis ball will. Turn the handlebars , seeing how the front fork is slid through the tubular frame, combining rigidity with suppleness. See the brakes waiting patiently until they’re called for, to yank a cable that drags rectangles of rubber onto the rims of the wheel, halting the bicycle as if time were slowing down. Notice the diamond-shaped frame, expertly welded at its joints . It is hollow, mostly air, yet will hold itself and all the bike’s components together through decades of miles. Be curious about a bicycle , and it will transport your mind as well as your body.
The above extracts were taken from the following book: Irvine, Ben (2012-09-24). Einstein and the Art of Mindful Cycling: Achieving Balance in the Modern World (Mindfulness) (Kindle Locations 1502-1505). Ilex Press/ Ivy Press. Kindle Edition.
The intention is that periodically we will meet outside Hampton Court Station and set off and we go road biking.The reality is that not all members will be available. On the days i can make it, I will organise a meetup event. Sue is also an event organiser and she also organises events (usually at a more sane hour!).
A lot of our members are now preparing for the Prudential 100 Ride in August 2014 so it may be that the club will start to gear towards a training regime for that sportive.
The club will be open to cyclists of all abilities. To start we will go to Richmond Park via Teddington and then come back. We have done a ride to Box and Leith Hills and will work out more routes in the Surrey Hills as the summer gets closer and now that the clocks have changed.
We must all ride safely. I have uploaded a file which you can download about the common hand-signals used in road cycling. Please familiarise yourself with these.