biking | edit

Ride down straight to Fields notes.

The only real sport I like is biking. To go work, just for fun, solo or with friends, racing or coasting. When on my bike, most of the things are forgotten and thinking clearly is a relief as it brings new ideas over time.

Think about the amount of stuff that goes into the manufacture and usage of one of your possessions over its lifetime. Compare it to some alternatives. A bicycle, made of 10-20 kilos of various light metals, rubbers and so on, is a far more materially efficient way of transporting a single human being than 1½ tonnes of steel, aluminium, glass, leather, and thousands of gallons of fuel -You Have Too Much Shit

When you think about it, the most used mode of transportation in North America is probably the least efficient, despite all the intentions of the manufacturers and what they are trying to tell you. Even if a car consumes 4 liters of fuel to move you along 100 km, the fact remains that the 100 km driven is the part of the fraction to be discussed. Why have we based our society on ephemeral travel and the desire of everyone to move around non-stop?

A car not only consumes precious and polluting liters of fuel, but also space. A lot of space. Parking, road widening, warehousing, car dealerships, urban sprawl, etc. The car causes a mania to disperse and to disperse increasingly demands the car. The infinite circle must cease, despite the fact that the decisions taken decades ago will have to endure for decades more of transport spread out in built space.

By selling our car soon, we are now refusing to participate in building our life and the life of each of us around large-scale travel. Even though short-term car rental is just a stone's throw from us and could potentially help us, breaking the magic formula 1 human = 1 car will make us happier and we believe live a life aligned with our values.

Current setup

I used to commute by bike to a work location located 25 km away, thus 50km each day with my previous Giant TCX Advanced Pro 1 2015 bought used, tires were replaced by Continental GP 4-Season 700x28.

Some tips for regular pedalling

Fields notes

First: Sept 13th 2020, late night, West Van

People are looking to shave 5 min from their commute by speeding, cutting short in side streets, but still, they waste hours each day to learn useless stuff about unknown people on social media.

Biking at night is a relief for the soul. Minimal sound, way less cars, darkness hides everybody under the same blanket of mystery. It’s like a new world where you can breathe, without judgement, without fear of the actual society norms on how you should look, how you should act, how you should look successful.

Late at night, only me and my bike, I feel alive. Like I want way less in life, just the bare minimum: small place to live, a good cheap bike, healthy food and a family. And you know what, I’m real close to it. My job is also very flexible, with good benefits. Why am I complaining? I’m not even sure anymore. I’m right at a great life, no fear financially and quite healthy. I should let go of even more stuff and concepts to simplify my life to the point I can focus on what’s really important.

More specifically, I want to let go of consumerism, anxiety about what others think of me, exit the rat race for good.

I need to get out late at night, rain or shine, daily. For my mind, for my field notes, for my lungs to get fresh air, for fresh ideas and a big chuck on gratitude.

Second: Sept 15th 2020, early PM, biking back home from work

How come we now have a culture of showing off everything? Why on earth do we need to take pictures every time we do something for ourselves and share it to the planet?

Why do we need a smartwatch to track our steps?

Why do we need an app to track our bike rides?

Why do we need social medias to extend ourselves?

Why do we need likes from anybody and strangers to validate our own life?

I have no Facebook account, no twitter account, no whatever newish/identical-to-the-previous-platform account, but can be reached only by text message or by a good-old phone call. Most of the time, people probably think that I'm a lazy ass, doing nothing interesting. Instead, they specifically want to let me know what others did, according to their pictures and posts on previously mentioned social medias. As if I really care.

And guess what, all the content generated by your smartwatches, smartphone apps, cameras and other industrialized POS won't even be remotely close to anybody sight in a fraction of a second, drowned in a sea of social junk, between cat memes and political fake news related right-wing articles.

I strongly believe that went you care about everything, you end up caring about nothing. Thus, people scrolling infinitely to find out other people's life are wasting precious energy and time to feed a social-colic problem.

Third: Feb 5th 2021, early PM, LSCR, Jack’s Burn stop

Mid-bike ride stops are the best. Not only when a coffee reward with friends is involved, but for other occasions when the high influx of blood that goes through your brain, your muscles, allowing your mind to be fully alive for a moment. Because, no, my regular state doesn’t allow me to be fully aware of my senses and thoughts.

Right now, I can probably write for a long time without running out of ideas.

In the middle of Lower Seymour Conservative Reserve in the beautiful North Vancouver area, I stopped to breathe and to write those few lines. Looking around, I’m surrounded by trees, a thick fog that covers the mountain peaks. Not much snow to see, even in February, when normally, I have difficulty to find a cleared path to ride my road bike. It is wet though. The grass is mushy, clogging my cleats, my mind is happy, fulfilling my dreams.

No cell coverage, the only thing I can do with my phone is to liberate myself of my thoughts. As it should be. The notes app is my best ally to archive those ephemeral thoughts before they disappear forever. Life goes by way too quick, the fast-paced society is grinding me to the point I have difficulty to rest and to think.

I’m about to hit reset on my life, once again, and I’m not sure if I will like what is waiting for me on the other side of the country. One thing I know for sure is that I will make choices carefully. The house as yet to be determined, I know for sure that it will be right-sized that time. To fully be alive with my family and few things I want to focus on.

Even if this writing goes in all directions, I am satisfied with the result. It will help me decide of my future, I do read back my posts from time to time to recenter my thinking on what really matters.

Fourth: Feb 16th 2021, early AM, Cleveland Dam (North Vancouver)

Instead of this short-bursted bike ride, I could have made a different activity to levitate my need to explore the outdoor and enjoy myself. Like hiking that peak over there (Two Lions, or as the indigenous people call them, Twin Sisters), or kayaking the inlet at the bottom of this magnificent land that is what we renamed Vancouver over the ancestral Salish territory.

Civilization has made way too many bad choices in the past, trying to suffocate previous foragers, like they were not human beings. And for that, I am ashamed to be alive, part of this madness that is the modern society. The world I know was built on stolen lands and slaved people to be what is now considered civilized. How can destroying history, lying about it, abusing our people and the environment and so much more be acceptable?

We can be grateful for some advancements, but we could have gone without way too many of them. What each of us needs is a good shelter, great food, balanced life for pleasure and a crime-free, equality-based life environment. I think we have none of those right now, and it will probably never happen. Greed makes this society unbalanced, where they want us to fight over more money, more prestige, more house, more everything, on the expense of others.

Even if I refuse it, I’m guilty by association and because we have few choices. Let’s start by resetting my life over more basic stuff, not just minimized possessions, but toward more human being centered values. Help your neighbour, be grateful for what you have, not what you want.

Fifth: May 1st 2021, noon, Downtown Kelowna

Biking through a medium-sized city on this May 1st has something I was not expecting. A demonstration against sanitary restrictions. Not expected because I really don’t follow news as I used to, specially anything related to subjective articles on the pandemic. The least thing I need in an uncertain time is to get prefabricated ideas from one side or another to create ephemeral emotions.

Anyhow, I was biking and saw this large crowd, quite pacifist in fact. I really have no opinion on their revendications, I rather tend to look at the big picture and find healthful that we do not all agree on things in life. We need different opinions, with arguments, to build a better world. The only issue I have is, as always, social media distortion of the facts that affect greatly both sides of the opinion spectrum.

In a turmoiled world like we have right now, my only hope is reconciliation as human beings, where we leave behind our differences and aim toward the same ideal, so every single one can have dignity and respect.

Sixth: May 12th 2021, 7:00AM, top of Knox Mountain

Do you sometimes feel silence is impossible to find? Is it an extinct resource? I personally feel we should claim it back. How?

Me sitting at the top of this mountain, right now all I can hear is bird chipping and a distant road noise. dB is super low, way lower than what we are used to in out daily life. Because let’s face it, when we do our routine at home, or commute to work, or work endlessly, our ears are filled all the time. And you know what, even when they aren’t, we find a way to generate noise. We listen to podcasts or music, watch Netflix or video, etc.

The only solution to be in silence in a distinct moment of no noise is to open a book.

Reasons we watch, listen to the noise is to get busy. But our ears don’t have to be solicited, we can truly be in silence and live a more meaningful life, exempt of noise pollution.

Back to my bike ride, I pulled the phone from my back pocket to type those lines, in silence. And it truly feels great.

Seventh: June 22 2021, 8:00AM, Rutland Centennial Park

We learn early in our life that competition is king. Soccer tournament, hockey leagues, car racing, academic success above others, hedonic treadmill, to have more than your neighbours, etc.

But as I am pedalling toward work today, the day I’ll get the vaccine against what we know as COVID, I realize that it’s pointless to compete. Sure, Pfizer might say otherwise since they won the race to be the major supplier, but we will arrive at destination no matter what. And winning is not the real reward. Being satisfied of our journey in your daily routine is so much better. I can have a better bike, a more aerodynamic helmet, a lighter wheel set, and what else. Truth is I don’t care to compete. All I want is no regrets.

When I pedal to work, I see people driving everywhere in life to race to the next thing, literally. Race to the coffee shop, race to work, race to impress the boss, race to get groceries, race to get kids from daycare, race from not enjoying every single minute with their family, race to death.

My personal advise to myself is to race backward, against current to arrive at destination fulfilled, not emptied.

Eighth: May 7th 2022, late at night, Grand Boulevard park

It is 10 degrees, 9pm, no rain, but a bike and my thoughts riding around town. A sign on the shared path says "slow your roll", trying to have all path users happy. It seems like there would be a second level on that. Either as a pedestrian or a cyclist, slow your roll not only on this very specific path but in life in general. We say that nature doesn’t rush, yet everything is accomplished. We then should consider that you can avoid rushing, yet you’ll be accomplished.

Each day, I see people rushing through their life, driving like maniac, working like robots, trying to squeeze every last drop of everything, yet they will doomscroll late at night and will have a full life wasted to fulfill pecuniary goals without being happy at all.

In a world where people are encouraged to display themselves everywhere, not judging other’s life is thought. To each its own, but I’m out of this non-sense (riding by bike).