Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Our Bicycles Have Gone Astray


Our Bicycles Have Gone Astray

(a rant for Grant)

The problem, I suppose,
is one of seductive speed.

The simplest frame, two wheels,
a chain and some gear ratio
makes a miracle,
amplifying human speed by three.

Why walk one mile
when you can bike three?

Why take three hours to go
when you can be there in one?

But it is so easy
to forget
that the better
is the enemy
of the good
and there is more
to life
than increasing
its speed.

If three is good
then isn't four better?
Or five, or six, or more?

And so we've calculated, computed,
added and subtracted,
invented all kinds
of cleverness.

Carbon fiber, great gangs of gears,
spandex clothing, shoes that click,
shifters that click, shifters with batteries,
bikes with batteries, bikes with motors.

Faster, better, newer, more.

Or maybe less.

We like to make them lighter,
more expensive, more exotic,
more impressive.

You'll climb faster
with a lighter wallet.

I make a decent living
I suppose
making and fixing bicycles
more complicated than my own
a few miles from my home.

I ride back and forth
those few miles to the factory
five days a week
on a bicycle
I made with friends,
I made friends with.

It has three gears,
two more than I use
most days.
But some days
those extras
come in handy.

On weekends my wife and I relax.
Our bicycles stay home
with the cat
and we walk everywhere.

I reckon I can afford
this luxury
because of the various ways
our bicycles
have gone astray.