Donnerstag, 3. September 2015

Of pain and ordeal and the soothing woods

 I wrecked my bike recently. When riding up a fire-road, "just riding along", in fact, my derailleur hanger, chain and rear derailleur broke. Grumbling, I had fixed it by shortening the chain and rode single - speed to the smithy or to the bike shop to order a spare part I normally could not afford, but it´s late summer, so I figured there´d be enough to eat in the woods and I could do with  loosing some fat, so I thought I´d cut down on eating for a month. Why is that so, you might ask, and shake your head in disbelief. Let me explain this. Mountainbike riding, and bicycle riding in general, gives me a kind of freedom. Poor people should not be allowed this freedom. We should get on the dole and be enslaved by big-term temporary employment agencies and, first and foremostly, shut up in front of the white - collared Herrenmenschen. I give an example to many people. I dismiss greed in a shark´s basin and don´t take money for many things I do - for you don´t rid a shark´s basin from the sharks by becoming one. I always have. Plus, the one thing you can afford when being poor, is a certain kind of pride. I ride my bike in a special way. Of course I love to ride for fun, but life is not always fun. I use my bike to get around most of the time, for foraging, and, of course, to soothe my soul. Feeling flow is important to me, be it by sitting beneath a creek, smithing, drawing, making music or poetry, or mountainbike riding. When I look down at my belly and, well, the times of my lean waistline are well behind me, so to say;-), I daresay I can afford to be on a diet for some time, and so I set my priorities.

Now, bummer, the spare part I needed did not arrive, and I still thought about getting out into the woods. At first I thought to go for a walk, for riding a singlespeed bike in the mountains can be painful. But then my father and grandfather had nothing else but a singlespeed bike and still rode the hills of the Sauerland and went on epic rides well before WWII. I don´t want my ancestry being ashamed of me, so I packed my pack, made a flask of tea and out I rode into the hills.  At first I stopped a bit to watch the wild pigs for some time, with bristles golden in the sun... smug in their laziness basking in the sun.

 The sun was a radiant, vibrant star blazing through the bright green of a summer´s day, and it was hot.
 I pounded up a hill that would normally pose no threat to me... but with one gear alone pain was my companion constantly, and my legs were burning. Still, I was in the woods, and it is a matter of respect that you be strong in these halls.
 I relished in the twilight and the dancing shadows that passed overhead, removed from the bright, blue sky. I felt very much alive then, sweating hard and pounding and breathing hard and hammering the pedals up the hill that seemed so much steeper. Many people live for this feeling of pain. Normally my life is painful enough, so I don´t like that feeling much actually, but this time it was different. It felt like cheating that bitch fate, by being stronger than its ordeals.
 And eventually I arrived on top of the hill. There wild pigs roam free.
 I followed the fireroad winding, sloping gently, making for a good way to recover from the ordeal.

 I rode some technical singletrail also, and it was good fun.
 Up another incline, I arrived at a place I cherish in my heart. There are three oak stems growing from one root, and in between the stems I had sat even as a child. The tree has grown, and it survived the storm, and spring and winter are but a breath´s tide. My tiny problems just have no place there. There I am oak.
 Over the hills I looked, and dreamed...

 The lake, like a jewel embedded in a cloak of green.
 I had brought the Viking bush knife to give you a progress shoot.
 And then it was teatime. I sat and sipped some tea, while ants were scurrying over my feet.
 But they did no harm to me... it felt good, a bit like being welcome in this green world.
 Down the tricky, hairy, technical singletrack with good flow I rode, and relished in it.
 All of a sudden I was on my way back.
...and I would not have thought that this might as well be the end of it all at least for a long, long time.

For when I was on my way home, and it was well dark, the ratchet brace in my rear wheel slipped, my chain was thrown off, and my axle broke at the same time with the teeth on my rear cogs bending. I tried to fix it and limped home in the dark. Advice: Hyperglide cogs make for very poor excuses for singlespeed cogs.

And, the culprit is, I can never afford a new wheelset, a derailleur, new cogs and chain and front chainwheels at the same time. And, the spare derailleur hanger I ordered might not be available anymore, so I might also need a new frame.

But, coming back with all the pictures in my mind, you can bet your hat on me finding a way. I WILL ride. The woods are calling, and no catastrophe of my life will prevent me from answering.

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