The Zen of E-Biking, maybe
Let’s get something straight right from the rip, here. I’m not a Zen kind of guy so don’t get all alpha- stated and mediative on me. Moreover, I’m not a Yoga-Gumby guy, either. I’m just not that guy; I guess I just like to see the word Zen in front of a noun. For example, if you plug the word Zen in front of the following words, and if you are a Zen cat and a writer you’ll have perhaps a good title on your hands: “The Zen of Surfing,” “The Zen of Sitting”, “The Zen of Flying,” “The Zen of Full Contact Origami,” “The Zen of Knitting,” “The Zen of Sushi,” “The Zen of Walking,” “The Zen of Panning for Gold,” “The Zen of Dog Training,” “The Zen of Talking,” “The Zen of Flirting,” “The Zen of Zen.” What all of these topics have in common
is that they sound soothing. Zen is a smooth word. Go ahead, say it. The Z sound is neither a plosive nor a fricative sound (google these terms), it’s an effortless slide of a sound that ends in the upper nasal cavity and has a relaxing feel and tone. I like the word.
In my pre-writing-scribbling notes for this column I came up with a new word-phrase for the English lexicon. The word is, Geez-E-Biking. The etymology of the Brit word geezer usually denotes an older guy; however, in some cases a geezer could be anyone. It’s a word I love to hear spoken by a cockney Britisher in a Guy Richie movie. (Guy Richie is a British filmmaker who works the language to the bone and is a very funny guy. This Guy, is hilarious.) I’m a FOG which means I’m a Full-On Geezer, and I wear my geezer-ness like a badge of honor. We could say that perhaps I may qualify as a BAG—Bad-Ass Geezer—because I want to keep moving and do what I’ve always liked to do. (By the way, any kind of movement for a geezer these days could be called bad ass. Just sayin’.) I’ve loved riding bicycles for over 68 years, but who’s counting? Furthermore, we could go way out on an observational geezer-limb and say that I’m an offshoot or vestige of Peter Fonda’s iconic archetype, “Easy Rider.” I’ve become a “Geezy Rider.”
Part of being an aging geezer is sometimes spinning off on tangents when discussing the simplest ideas. You just witnessed this happen if you have found yourself still ensconced in my meandering yet poignant prose. It’s just part of the way of the geezer to get fetched up on tangents regarding just about any topic. Hey, it is what it is. Random tangents can come shooting out of a geezer’s mouth like Roman Candles on the Fourth of July. I digress, now let’s get back on the E-Bike path and pay attention to the inner psychology, and all of the upsides of Geez-EBiking and the keen observations of this geezy rider.
First of all, Geez-E-Biking is just plain old fun. It’s so much fun that once I finish a 15-mile ride I’m already looking forward to my next one. I will be thinking of various things such as terrain, hills, scenery, and wind direction as I plan a new ride.
Traffic is also something I’m constantly aware of, and I must constantly remind myself that I’m not on a motorcycle but rather a pedal assisted bicycle. There’s a big difference. These days at the docks many people will often pick my brain regarding how long my battery will last with a full
charge. This is a loaded question. The bottom line is this; the less we use our pedal assist levels and throttle - which translates to used battery juice - the longer the battery will hold its charge. Simple.
On my recent Martha’s Vineyard trip, I rode over 35 miles and still had plenty of power left in the battery. Nota bene: I was riding on flat terrain, and averaged a cruising speed of 12 miles per hour. This part of the island allowed me to use very little battery power because it was pure and easy geezy-riding terrain out in Katama. It was the same deal on Chappaquiddick, where the roads are flat.
It becomes a game of head chess between the Geez-E-Rider and his battery. We need to think like our battery thinks to get the most spins from our spokes on any given ride. It’s a constant learning curve and doing some simple math calculations can keep our brains sharp. If you’re the type of person who loves to compete with yourself, then you will have a field day crunching out mileage numbers. Hell, I hate math and flunked pretty much every course I ever had to take in school. However, when I’m cruising at 12 miles per hour, most assuredly you can bet my wheels are turning. Fun stuff, geezer stuff.
In addition to having fun while Geez-E-Biking it is also very easy to measure our progress and gauge our time, speed and distance. Additionally, we can feel our leg strength increasing as we wheel down the road. There is so much upside to this activity that we’ll be seeing more and more of these rigs in the coming years. It’s a fait accompli that it’s not a free ride deal with an E-Bike - unless you’re lazy. It’s a work as hard as you want deal which gives the rider total autonomy. And, success for many of the geezy riders I’ve met out there has everything to do with autonomy.
When I was a 20-year-old kid living on Block Island in 1970, I was a skinny 148-pound guy and loved riding my bicycle, fast. I cranked all around the island on my Schwinn Varsity never even thinking of hills. I was in shape and just tore up Spring Street without even breathing heavy or wearing a helmet. Ahem, of course that scenario is now lost to the ether, and a bank of fond memories. However, maybe someday you’ll see this geezy rider burning up the pavement heading up toward the Southeast Lighthouse, while sporting a snazzy helmet and wearing a motley-colored vest. Ya never know.
Safety first, kids. Ride on!