Saturday, January 10, 2009

Moments of Presence

This is another first post by yet another contributer, so it's an introductory sort. I'm eriK jensen, not to be confused with the transcendental bicycle wizard EB. Had I known there would be so many ericks about in my adult life I would've changed my name telepathically in the womb, but so it goes. Note the K. I write about my life's events, bike related and otherwise over here on another blog

I've yet to find a satisfyingly concise answer as regards the 'why' of my commitment to pedaling. I use bicycles for everything. Running errands, pedaling across town to work, or getting out of town entirely. Everyday I look to spend meaningful hours on the saddle.

I believe everyone has a duty to themselves to find a coherent ethic of practice through practical and empirical consideration. To find spirituality-giving, environmentally-responsible, and community-oriented practices in life is an imperative. These aspects are supported by immersion into a two-wheeled and self-propelled world. A lifestyle reliant upon the bicycle relies on the responsibility of the self over the false conveniences of contemporary technology and automobiles. The bicycle is a divinely simple machine that is uniquely able to transcend many of the damaging aspects of contemporary life. Though one may not cause systemic change on her own, at least she is not part of the problem. Universalized, this practice can cause enormous revolutions. Our individual action teaches others, daily practice is most important. Ride your bicycle everywhere, and support communities that help make this possible.

You are in the world on a bicycle. You are not in so many other modes of isolated contemporary 'life.' My favorite times on a bike come through getting outside the city, far beyond the boredom and monotony and confused lifestyles that plague it, and into true physical interaction with nature as such. Bicycling helps me to abandon a lifestyle that is too easily mediated and distanced from meaningful interaction with nature and other humans.

snow at lewis and clark

I love to push myself hard in conditions that others might shy away from. Some outdoor knowledge and being prepared are all it takes. I want to share those things. I'm loving the snow and getting out in these storms. I'm loving riding across ice covered lakes on studs, climbing past cars sliding back down icy hills, watching people's flustered reaction to the demonstration that YES YOU CAN RIDE YOUR BICYCLE FOR PRACTICAL USES YEAR ROUND IN OMAHA AND YOU SHOULD BE DOING THIS.

My partner, Emily, riding on the repurposed Bridgestone MB-1 we built up for the snow.

I want offer my help to anyone who needs help getting started or getting a broken bicycle fixed. There's the community bicycle cooperative at 33rd and california (and if you don't know about it now you do), but sometimes that doesn't work out. Bicycling is expensive, no doubt about it, and we should try to share our tools and knowledge to keep each other on the road. So that offer stands, I have a pretty well-stocked basement shop and some knowledge I can share (email@gmail using radiophonicworkshop before that, written this way to help avoid spam)

I want to go on crazy rides in the middle of the night with others afflicted with a love of endorphin rushes and dopamine releases. In the best and worst of weather. I want to have a rally of studded bicyclists and do some laps on iced lakes before the winter's out. I want to grind gravel with everyone of you until we can't stand anymore. I want to unlock the door for others that will let them spend a day on their bike in the midst of a blizzard, and I will post rides with this as the goal here as I watch for future weather. Tie your sleeping bag or bivy gear onto your bike, and let's go. I want to embrace this fragile life I hold and embrace the transcendent reality of miles spent in the saddle for pure enjoyment, all gained in an earth friendly manner.

pedaling out of the city during last night's snow

We must keep riding. Struggle to set the right example and help others get into cycling, into healthy communities, into happy and balanced lifestyles that are responsible to their impact in the world. It can all be unfolded through the bicycle. It all starts at the individual level. It all happens in those moments when you lose yourself to the immensity of experience without limits, done without regard for status, and embrace the actuality of the present moment.

How could one ever be bored with so many good things to see and feel! This unity with our joyous surroundings, this ultra-penetrating perception gave us a feeling of contentment that we had not had for years.
-Yvon Chouinard

Ok I'm done. From now on I'm going to keep it pretty concise, I promise you.


EB said...

You are the man!

Thanks so much for being a voice!

Omaha is grateful!

And I'm eager to make some pedal rotations with ya in the future!

RD said...

gravel that sound good you let me know when you go on this gravel adventure that will be tasty

Andrew Chasteen Photography said...

Nice post, got me excited!

munsoned said...

Erik, thanks for the (very detailed) introduction. I basically feel the same way, but don't quite have the poetic prose to express my feelings as you did. Hopefully, if we keep track of this blog, and post our ride plans, we can all get together and go riding. Never know when your "ride on a whim" would be gratefully shared with another fellow pedaler. I usually post my ride plans for the weekends on my blog, but will try to remember to cross post on here too.

EB said...


Gravel+More Gravel = Great Time

JPF said...

Erik, well said. An inspiring post to say the least. thanks for that. -Justin

erik said...

thanks for the positive feedback!