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Slow Down

A great apologist for capitalism, Ben Franklin, offered the world a horrific maxim: “Time is Money”; a phrase used by factory foremen to drive workers to stamp out more widgets per hour. Our language regarding time has devolved into financial terms such as “you’re wasting/saving/borrowing/spending/budgeting your time”. We can spend (sorry, couldn’t avoid it) our time mindlessly rushing to some imagined destination in the future.

How much of life do we do mindlessly? Driving, brushing our teeth, eating, “listening” to our loved ones. As cyclists we can do the same, just putting one pedal stroke in front of the other with our attention focused inward, glued to some silly schedule we’ve imposed on ourselves. Cycling can be as much an exercise in mindfulness as a mode of transportation, but it takes effort to break old habits of thinking.

I’ve taken my computer off my touring bike for just that reason. My focus was on numbers and not the experience. I was casting judgments on my performance and labeling myself slow, unfit, behind schedule. Time wasted (damn it, there I go again) looking at my computer and making calculations and not fully engaged in the wonderful experience of moving through the world under my own power. I was not being in relationship with the other people around me, in cars, walking or on bikes, and certainly not in relationship with the world I was moving through.

Here is a wonderful lecture by author Carl Honore on the topic of slow.

Enjoy, Jack

Categories: Going off topic
  1. January 1, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Jack, seems like we should know each other. I’m a Franklin cyclist and backpacker. I did my first self contained and solo bicycle tour at age 18 in 1976. I most recently thru-hiked the AT in ’08.
    I still have the touring bug and try to at least do a couple of week long tours each year. As you can tell from my blog, I really enjoy live music, also.
    I’m glad I stumbled onto your blog, I really enjoy it, maybe we’ll run into each other soon.
    Peace and Happy New Year! Chuck

  2. velohobo
    January 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Happy New Year Chuck. I’m sure we have passed each other (or more likely you’ve passed me) on the Burning Town ride. We should ride if the weather ever warms up.


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