Every day we must confront two opposing forces.
Every day is a battle. And every day that battle can be won or lost.
For bike riders, the most common manifestation of this duality is: do I ride today, or not. But it’s never that simple. Not for a bike racer. No, a bike racer asks, “do I ride today?”, and then he follows that up with “do I ride, or do I train today?” Training is a lot more than just riding along. Training requires discipline, heart-ache, and pain. Training can mean skipping the ride on flowing singletrack, and instead doing hill repeats on a dirt road.
Dualism is the idea that two equal, but opposite forces are constantly pulling us in one direction or the other. Good and Evil. Right and Wrong. God and Satan. And of course, Ride or Not Ride.
Riding a bike is never the wrong choice. I’ve had many days that I did not want to ride. I would have rather sat on the couch and watched baseball. But instead, I rode, even for just an hour through the neighborhood. I’ve never regretted going out for a ride. I always return feeling energized and optimistic about the world. I finish feeling happier and healthier than before. In other words, riding a bike is better than any pill, therapy, or diet fad.
If you believe the old stories, then you believe that good will always triumph over evil. The hero will slay the dragon. The world will be saved. Sometimes the outcome is precarious, sometimes unlikely, but the right side always wins. Many of the old stories are quaint by our (self proclaimed) sophisticated intellectual standards today. Who has time for mythology and folklore in 2012? Of course, we all do. We live mythically. Our lives are tangible manifestations of different folklore and myth; The Hero’s Journey, The Dominance of Fate, Love, Beauty, and so forth. We are each living proof that story is powerful, and that myth is truth.
And like the hero’s of the old stories, each of us must face our own opposition. Opposition takes many different forms, and can be very powerful. Our lives can be destroyed if we are not diligent in our battles to overcome it. However, opposition can also make us stronger. Hills were meant to be climbed. Indeed, that’s exactly why cyclists climb hills! It makes us stronger, faster, and more determined.
Riding a bike is a simple pleasure. But it’s also very powerful. An afternoon bike ride might not end your troubles, but it will lighten them.