Wednesday, June 18, 2014

*Bleep*ing Pain

Like any saying, old bicycling adage, “It never gets easier, you just go farther faster,” holds some truth. You do lose excess weight, so pedaling your bloated carcass around grows decreasingly bothersome. Pack a knapsack with 6 five-pound bags of sugar and see how carrying 30 extra pounds grinds knees and wears thin. Cycling advocates can be sickly sadistic, don’t say it so newcomers merely accept pain, rather that they masochistically embrace it. Yet the more you peddle, the better you do get and more tricks you learn. Butt turns to leather, choices help, heart and lungs improve, saddle conforms, and thighs strengthen, so you carry more weight on your legs not tender bits. You quicken your cadence to leave behind rude riders with nary a greeting for a fellow cyclist. None of this applies to those who stay fit, though. A clever saying neglects to mention every exception. As with everything on earth, blackness merges with light, commodious combines with odious, yang entwines yin. Facts and paradoxes are boring/messy/negative; people prefer encapsulated/neat/positive fiction. “Lie to me,” is their plea.

Who can separate beneficial from painful? “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Don’t want to be conspicuously strong or to cheat death, just finish rides and sidestep primordial stimuli carried by interoceptors to thalamus. “Is sitting the new smoking?” Couch potatoes, desk jockeys, and seated motorists face cardiovascular failure while back, leg and neck muscles shrink and shorten. Bicycling and walking build; Tai Chi and Yoga stretch. Pumping iron and working out are only for those already fit. With an obesity pandemic, food choices and quantities ought to come first. People in sunless upper half of America are Vitamin D deficient, which leads to brain disfunction, diabetes, and other diseases. But the preponderance of medical evidence emphatically confirms that smoking remains the #1 health hazard. Cycling discourages smoking, which impedes breathing.

Ways to die in order of frequency (number of deaths cited annually nationwide, compiled from multiple official sources): 1. Cardiovascular diseases (clots, heart attack, stroke, 727,000 fatalities). 2. Cancers (all types including skin from too much sun while cycling, 580,000). 3. Lung dysfunctions (including COPD from car exhaust and smoking, 138,000). 4. Brain ailments (Altzheimer’s, dementia, insanity, 80,000). 5. Crime, gun violence and suicide (70,000). 6. Diabetes (69,000). 7. Accidents other than driving (60,000). 8. Kidney disorders (50,500). 9. Infectious diseases (50,000). 10. Automotive collisions (40,000). More people died in motoring accidents in the last 100 years than soldiers in wars. Causes in common are diet, driving distracted/impaired, smoking, and substance abuse, all personally preventable. Little is done to save lives, since 2 million pointless deaths provide jobs and profits. Meanwhile, other important work never gets done. It's a war. Call it what you will, criminal enterprise, but make no excuses.

Been checking out home water filters that sort cancerous toxins from sustaining necessity. How do you choose what’s best? Claims are proven phony. Had to replace truck, too. Of course, looked for a reliable, safe plug-in hybrid SUV miserly on gas at the same price as a quality bike into which it would nicely fit. At 4 times more than long awaited dream vehicle, settled for a small sedan that actually exists. Who can afford these compromises, prices, premiums, property taxes, or Tesla S? Everything involves complex decisions based on too many facts, models, and options. Traffic is so chaotic, experts try to impose controls, laws, and penalties, none of which slow daily carnage. Technologists are close to introducing the first robotic vehicles. While avoiding valuable cars will they collide with vulnerable cyclists? Built-in cameras, cell phones, cruise controls, hands-free consoles, and sound systems count as distractions that endanger everyone, new opportunities to inflict pain, and wasted resources mankind will never recover.

Can see why bicyclists become bitter; they absorb whatever torture convenience imposes and find no welcome where reckless speed dominates. For pain alone, it’s hard enough trying to convince people to ride. They ought to earn a free pass for not making world worse to live in. Seems another instance where, “No good deed goes unpunished,” although that’s no more true than, “Crime does not pay.”

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