First he was just cycling to work. But then he started to adventure out of town, and it just felt so good.
He had had the "cyclists high" version of "runner's high". A light euphoria in your head, or a pulsating feeling of pleasure in your legs and lower torso. This reminded Ciro of:
Like other drugs:
- it is addictive
- you will have some bad trips, e.g. went the wrong way on a highway and are afraid you are going to die crushed by fast cars, got flat tire on 1 hour ride and have no repair kit, destination cafe is closed and you are hungry, wind got so strong you can barely ride, half an hour in you find out that it is way colder than what you expected.
- you will have hangover after a long amazing ride
But for every such experience you survive, you learn something to reduce the chances it will happen.
Cycling just gives you an amazing sense of freedom!
The prospect of being able to reach nice new places keeps the experience fresh for a very long time.
Each time you try to find a new cool location, and sometimes you just stumble into amazing stuff without knowing about it.
It is funny, but sometimes this gives Ciro the same feeling that he had as a child playing 2D exploration RPGs such Pokemon and Final Fantasy VI as you explore the wild. Except that the world of cycling is much much more detailed and diverse, and the freedom is much more real. And if you die on a car crash there are no continues.
Also, as you start cycling, you can feel the endorphins rise little by little, until you reach a point where you fell like you are part of the road.
It is amazing how you feel much less cold and hunger when cycling, to the point of being dangerous: always carry some chocolate bars in case you hit the wall!
As a friend of Ciro once said: you start to become like a wolf, who knows every cyclable little road in a 30km radius around your home.
As of 2020, Ciro is at that "should I buy a more reasonable road bike" moment. Let's see how it goes. If he does, cycling trips with the bike on a plane are likely.
As a software engineer, trying to repair a mechanical system like his bike reminds Ciro very strongly of how the physical engineering is brutal. Millimetric changes can make huge differences, it is mind blowing! Good lesson to have in mind.
Another thought that often comes to Ciro's mind is that bicycles are not regular possessions because they break a lot. Rather, they must be seen as a kind of transportation tax that you have to pay to feel amazing riding them rather than feel crappy riding a bus or train.
One interesting feeling that Ciro gets from cycling is that it is an intermediate between walking and riding a car. Ciro felt this especially strongly when he lived near work, at a distance that you could either walk or cycle. When you walk, you can just see so much more of the surroundings, it is astonishing. When you cycle, you just go much faster, and you attention is much more towards the front, so you feel surroundings much less. On the other side, cycling allows you to feel different things. E.g. in wider open areas, there isn't much detail to see anyway, so you can better feel those areas on the faster speed of the bike. A similar feeling applies to how pedestrians feel like flies when you are on a bike, just like you must feel like a fly to car drivers. Ciro later learnt that a person of similar literary ability to his, Ernest Hemingway, had a famous related similar quote:
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them.... Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
Although Ciro does not run because of his itchy legs issue, he finds it interest to contrast cycling with running, notably:
- cycling has a much higher setup time or wearing appropriate clothes, unlocking your bike, and of course, bike maintenance
- running allows you to go into many more small paths that are not accessible by bike, thus offering a different sense of freedom. You can't go as far however. So maybe the ultimate sport would be to cycle to a good cross-country running location and then run over there?