Empowering The Bicycle Traveler


The Bike Hermit gets discouraged. Maybe too easily. He knows he’s not the only one. Sometimes the most basic of tasks are hard to get started. What’s the point after all? Typing on the computer is a struggle. The sentences come out short and clipped. What’s the problem ? It appears, outwardly at least, that everybody else takes care of the events their lives have assigned to them cheerfully and without question…..they just do what they do and they are what they are….. la,la,la,la,la. The Bike Hermit knows that’s not true. Hmmm, the Bike Hermit thinks he’s special. He knows he likes to coddle his feelings of self loathing and regret…why is he not more creative? why does he make everything so difficult? why does he sabotage himself? what value is there to what he does?

Sometimes he is functional and ambulatory on dry land. Sometimes he swims in the soup of his own imaginary swamp. Sometimes he dog paddles and sometimes he just treads water. Other times he sinks below the surface and just floats there. He can observe the world outside which seems unreal and unreachable. The landscape out there is flat and the colors are grayscale or sepia. The weight presses him physically and mentally. It is not entirely unpleasant…..sort of like freezing to death, reportedly.(who reported that and how would they know?)

But when the person who is closest to him and who means more to him than anything else is affected by his whining negativity he realizes he needs to start paddling. Blorp, schpew, cough, hack, spit – his head pops out and he reaches for the bike. He strokes toward the door and outside. Up the literal and metaphorical hill he pedals, trying not to be annoyed by the “rush hour” traffic on this stretch of road that used to be mostly deserted before the geniuses in charge of such things decided it should be paved. Up to the trail he has passed before on this ride but never taken.
Turn left
Loose sand with horse hoof craters and horse shit
Get off and push
Leave bike and walk.
Except for the cheatgrass he imagines this landscape as unchanged for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. A long time anyway. It looks benign but it is really quite harsh. The hills are steep and the soil is poor; sand and windblown silt. No trees grow here, just sagebrush. He sees one half of a jawbone of some small animal and kicks it over.
Back to the bike
Walk down to the road
Coast back down
Now there is some light and color penetrating the gloom, a lens of sunset sky suspended over the horizon. Getting cooler and almost dark.

In the morning, puke it out onto the virtual page. That actually feels better. A lot better.

4 comments… add one
  • Linda November 2, 2012, 10:32 pm

    Sounds like writerly angst to me. Good thing you’ve got a great outlet and someone to shove you out the door when it’s time!

    Fun read.

  • Peter November 13, 2012, 5:18 pm

    Jim, it sounds like you need a good laugh. The “bicycle touring humor” genre is regrettably lacking in material, but it does exist, and has for decades.

    This 30 minute vignette is proof!


    • Bike Hermit November 13, 2012, 5:35 pm

      Right, then. Thanks for the link Peter. Monty Python is awesome. They make me laugh… Ha, Ha

  • Fellow Curmudgeon November 17, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Jim, you are not alone in your thoughts. Those happy people are faking it most of the time. Not always —–but most of the time. Remember what Thoreau said, “most people live their lives in quiet desperation and still go to the grave with the song still in them”.

    That being said, I feel better after I use the punching bag in the garage or work out really hard. A good, long bike ride would work too.

    And you are creative. I’ve seen your work. Everyone gets down and cranky sometimes. The key is getting back up. Yeah, sometimes, it feels really good to get mad. It helps you focus on what’s important.

    Rock on, Bike Hermit.


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