Thursday, December 3, 2009

Age quod agis!

Yesterday, nothing went right when I tried to ride to a lunch appointment.  It took an eternity to find the right replacement tube, the mislaid tire levers, and a strap to attach the pump and lock.  Even topping off the tires was a complicated mess.  Blood pressure rising, I discovered the hammer on my new brass bell was bent, so I stopped to fix that.  When I finally started off, it only took a block for the fender rubbing to become unbearable.  Time to switch bikes.

Bike No. 2 had a flat.  I fought with the tire (Schwinn size #@^*% that is almost impossible to get on or off the rim) and finally decided to move on to bike No. 3.  I made it two blocks this time before the sound of the cogs sliding on the pie plate became infuriating.

"I finally said to hell with the whole idea, got in the car and drove to lunch."
I finally said to hell with the whole idea, got in the car and drove to lunch.  Creeping around in the back of my brain was a thought of putting an end to all this bike nonsense.  Of course, I didn't mean it, but it was a surprisingly negative feeling considering how much better I've felt since I've started riding -- and buying -- bikes.

So today, I thought it was important that I get on a bike and ride.  Just for the fun of riding.  I'd pick a bike I knew would work...  one with an internal gear hub, to eliminate even the whisper of chain noise.  Five miles later, and all was well with me and the bikes again.

Sometimes, you have to ride just to ride, I decided.

It may very well be that I am the last person in the world to have encountered this Zen koan, but I thought it was kind of cool that I came across it today, the day of my "just ride to ride" discovery. 

Five students of a Zen master was back from the market on their bicycles. As they dismounted, their master asked : Why are you riding your bicycles ?"

Each of them came up with different answers to their master's query.

The first student said "It is the bicycle that is carrying the sack of potatoes. I am glad that my back has escaped the pain of bearing the weight"

The master was glad and said : " You are a smart boy. When you become old you will be saved of a hunch back unlike me"

The second student had a different answer. " I love to have my eyes over the trees and the sprawling fields as I go riding"

The teacher commended : "You have your eyes open and you see the world"

The third disciple came up with yet a different answer : " When I ride I am content to chant 'nam myoho renge kyo'"

The master spoke words of appreciation " Your mind will roll with ease like a newly trued wheel"

The fourth disciple said : "Riding my bicycle in live in perfect harmony of things"

The pleased master said " You are actually riding the golden path of non-harming or non violence"

The fifth student said " I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle"

The master walked up to him and sat at his feet and said "I am your disciple!"


  1. I LOVE that. Thanks for posting, and thanks for not giving up on the ride. Think of all of the pit bull reindeers you would miss out on.

  2. If you meet the Buddha on the road, shove your frame pump into his spokes when he tries to pass you.

  3. ...oh, and "sumus quod sumus"...

  4. Point made...own more than one bike and have at least one IGH :-D