Bicycle Diaries: That which rolls

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10.7.06

That which rolls

If your search engine pointed you to this blog, you may well be surprised. Unlike a majority of cycle sites, this one is NOT about collecting retros or crossing continents. It's NOT about truing wheels or straightening forks. Nor is about Share The Road activism or freakbike rebellion. There's plenty of wonderful sites out there for that. Just check out the URLs to the right or click on the jpegs like the one to the left.

Instead, my blog is a literary experiment. After kicking around much of the planet for the last decade, I got to thinking that I should write a book. A Swiss girlfriend once told me that every man should plant a tree, build a house, and write a book before he dies. Though a tall order, her words have stuck with me. At least I've planted a tree and once I successfully wrote a big US government grant for a new building at a Ukrainan university.

That leaves the book. The problem is that I'm not yet quite sure what I'll write about. I don't want to do a pithy travelogue or a piece of war journalism. I'd rather do something like Chatwin did with just a touch of the surreal rebellion of writers like Alfred Jarry. He wrote The Supermale in 1902 where the hero is a superman who wins a 10,000 mile bicycle race against a six-man team.

A serious eccentric, Jarry would have fit in well at a Critical Mass. Under five feet tall, he rode everywhere in Paris when cycling was the cutting edge of avant garde bohemia. He habitually dressed in black cycle-racing clothing, grooming himself like Mephisto in miniature. And he took very seriously the art of taking nothing seriously, referring to himself in the third person. As if this wasn't enough, he referred to his bicycle as "that which rolls".

Another problem is that, while I like to write, my literary discipline truly sucks. I have several friends who have been blogging for years. One, Jason Pettus, updates every day religiously, managing to write rather interesting things. And being a fox, I have way too many ideas floating around in my head. They all seem equally important to me. That means I have difficulties being a hedgehog with that one big idea that would tie together all these cool ideas in a neat package. When I started this blog two months ago I thought bicycles could be the big idea. And that it would motivate me to write regularly. But now I'm swamped with a whole new set of ideas and fascinating connections.

Each day then is a debate over what I will write about ... welcome to my gentle nightmare %)

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