Monday, October 13, 2014

Capital Gain

One thing Bike&Chain has never been about: Profit. Did, on occasion, accept trades for bicycling services, for example, leading newbies on twilight rides. Mostly broke even in needed parts and repairs or someone else’s books or recordings. Labann would never deluge your inbox with ads for anything (Be smart. Buy mine!), appeals for alms (This is no sales call...), cannabis vapes for e-cigs (No Tar, Pure Poison!), herbal remedies (Dubious cures without a prescription), or such plugs for unwanted spam. In fact, only ever promoted alert attention to what’s happening without weighing its benefits. That’s practically heresy in a society that rates everything on a top ten list, as if there were only 10 of anything to compare. Reveals how insular those who judge are.

Always warm to those who volunteer a confession when you share an observation. It isn’t mandatory. Conversations can be started on flimsy premises. B&C was originally intended to welcome dialogue, though fear the opposite occurred, smothered connection with obscure inquiries and zen mediation. Most people see cycling as the social darwinism of race competition, not the celebration of vitality and privilege of deceleration that it is.

Last long ride seemed continually uphill. Even its only downhill had a dozen sharp upticks. Was thinking throughout, “Is this good for me?” Brevets (50, 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 600, or 1200 km) basically beat the bejabbers out of you. Their health improvement and mood boost come at a painful price. But what your body expends earns credits. All work supposedly garners compensation. Projects completed increase holdings. Science supports it. In thermodynamics, every system degenerates towards entropy, its state of lowest integration, without periodic inputs of energy. Pedaling builds fitness, burns fat, and buys time by improving body. Bicycling contrasts with other forms of exercise in that it’s also reliable transportation. It can be as easy or hard as you like. You can choose to climb hills or sometimes go around them. You can feel exhausted afterward or later revived. Whatever occurs, you own it. Yet it’s strange how you earn the right to ride farther by holding a job to pay for equipment and wasting ever more time through pedaling instead of motoring.

Self preservation calls for cardio workouts, daily effort, environmental awareness, food choices, intelligent approach, job performance, money savvy, safe motility, sensible risks, and social contract. You neglect any one at your peril. Increasing survival odds sounds as difficult as it is in fact. Doctors recommend, in order: 1. Quit smoking and taking drugs, though they push pharmaceuticals rather than put up with your bellyaching over trivial issues. 2. Maintain nominal body mass index through diet and exercise. 3. Listen to nutritionists, who urge you to balance carbs, lean proteins, and raw veggies. 4. Hydrate religiously. 5. Sleep same amount, same time every day. 6. Stay out of infected crowds. 7. Wash frequently. 8. Operate machinery responsibly. 9. Slow down and spend sensibly. 10. Avoid stress, though worry about achieving all 10 might increase it.

Easier to pedal than stay employed. Insanity drags down business: Bosses apply generic systems to do particular work, committees impose all sorts of rules, and coworkers dodge duties you must assume. Such arrangements collect losers and drive stalwarts away. Eventually, all you have are lunatics and pirates. Same principle applies with lawyers making statutes that maximize litigation, thus profits. This causes dual evils: 1. Good rules disappear under a pile of crazy nonsense. 2. People waste a lot of time, so important work never gets done. Battle lines are drawn by those who justify their decisions. You are stuck with tools that make producing impractical. Confusing metaphor or useful mnemonic, neither promotes understanding better than simplicity. Complexity exists because someone wants to control or grasp societies or systems with lots of components acting independently. You seldom really need to do this. It can happen without your intervention. Complexity extends employment for office drones far beyond their useful contributions. Safe to bet that the 1 in 4 insane inmates of your asylum really run it. Smarter to demystify and simplify. Too bad deck is stacked against you making a living by roaming aimlessly and spinning cranks, which at least represents personal gain rather than soul drain. Many writers have tried to sell a bike book suffuse with advice nobody wants to hear and lists of somehow related items readers don’t care about; can neither give them away nor trade experiential knowledge for energy credits.

Passed Columbus in October’s moonlit glimmer. His bronze finger confirmed direction already taken. Explorers may point the way and promise profit, but reality occurs en route. A semi-tandem-trailer whizzed by letting out a blast from his air brakes. Was on gradual climb broken by a traffic stop, but the grind doesn't stop until you cross Miller and flatten on Pleasant. Bicycling sometimes resembles exploring. Reached workplace and settled into another hectic day as if nothing had happened over 500 years ago to merit remembrance.

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