Why do distractions tempt so reliably? You’ll watch anything on television, even a rerun with a midget on a bicycle pointing excitedly at visitors arriving by plane to his isolated South Seas Island resort. Or was it a golf cart? Sports appease the masses, divert resentment, and encourage belonging. Travel constitutes one distraction after another, pure immersion in misunderstood unfamiliarity, thus it’s just about the most attractive activity ever. One despises own surroundings, as palatial as they may be, due to desperate sameness, yet laments having left once drudgery inevitably commences. Conniving tacticians take advantage of both bored and homesick alike. But when legendary domestique George Hincapie points out 20 great places to spin, who wouldn’t look?
Drivers, so exasperated by their commutes in snarled traffic, endanger lives for extemporaneous email. Labeled DORCs (Distracted Operators Risk Casualties), a like named nonprofit asks for donations to gripe about texting, apparently unaware of DORCs (Disgruntled Off Road Cyclists), who regularly mountain bike away from such irresponsible motorists. Personally prefer pavement. No point whining when drivers scream past; they fret over text at next red light and trigger sequence, so cyclists can cruise right through. Anyway, as an transportation enabler, bikes are more like computers, smartphones or tablets than automobiles, jets, or trucks; bikes steadily flow information and surround riders with sensations, while motors blindly drag around passengers and stuff under a sheltering shell. Cyclists can leave road altogether for lawn or sidewalk, leisurely stop, and take a call or text without blocking traffic.
Crowds often fear, seldom embrace alternatives, wait for anyone else to make first move. Settlers followed explorers much later when safer. Therefore, ancient mundane sports persist as participatory recreation. So how did bicycling become the new golf? Ball mashers in droves are decamping courses, deplaning indefinitely, leaving carts, and opting for local jaunts that reveal resources and threats on their own fantasy island. Nationwide, during >500 million rounds 69 people died golfing in 2013, mostly when hit not by balls but lightning. By comparison, in 4.2 billion trips 726 cyclists died in 2012, a roughly equivalent fatality risk by time-consuming sessions. Costs are diverging; golfing fees have gotten too dear while bicycle prices decline. Watch for increasing knots of slow creepers and speedy pace-lines on back roads.
You don't need a group ride to go, but must lug own necessities, maintain bike, and prepare in advance. Going far and often enables riding solo all day. Without rainless warmth no wheedle works. Some cyclists say they won’t emerge until temperature in degrees exceeds their age in years, akin to golfers who aim to shoot their age in 18 holes, though more score their weight while they snack and wait on each tee. Sunday's 65° ride revealed too few to stir excitement or support their claim. Those obsessed say it never rains on courses or routes, but most agree it’s intolerable to pass through security at airports, so passenger departures have steadily declined since 2007, even if chance of dying consequently is 1:7,000,000.