Mind is the Ride

Boneshaker's Jet McDonald drops by to tell us about his latest project

7 Mar 2016  |  Posted by GUEST  |  Categories: Art & Design, Correspondence, Curiosities, Friends, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling

Cycling and philosophy do not seem like obvious companions. Some would say the only thing that links the two is a preponderance of beards. However, philosophers have always wanted to take things apart to see how they work, much like the budding bike mechanic, and then put them back together again and see how they roll, much like a kid with a new bike. There is something so exhilarating about cycling, sweating up a hill and then racing down again, that it offers an unparalleled insight into the boundaries of human experience. What does it mean to feel pain and pleasure closely aligned? What does it mean to sense the whole extent of your body stretching and easing into the rough tread of a good ride? Can we measure these experiences objectively or are they only in the mind of the rider? What, after all, is the mind?

Philosophers love this stuff. It’s like chocolate cake to them. Or croissant if you’re a continental existentialist.

There’s a great story about the young Bertrand Russell (some would say the foremost British philosopher of the last hundred years) and the young George Bernard Shaw (big time orator and playwright, massive beard) detailed by Craig Brown in “Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings.”


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My top rides of 2015

Juliet drops by to deliver her highlights of 2015

6 Jan 2016  |  Posted by Juliet Elliott  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling, Urban Cycling

Like many people, at this time of year I find myself reflecting on what’s gone before, looking back over the past twelve months and reflecting on the moments I’ve particularly enjoyed. As I’m one hell of a lucky lady, there have been a whole load of fun times in 2015, so in no particular order, here are my rides of the year.


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“Deck The Halls With Blah Blah Blah Blah, Yadda Yadda Yadda Ya-Ya-Ya…”

Guest Blogger Bike Snob NYC Goes Shopping

23 Dec 2015  |  Posted by Bike Snob NYC  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Monthly highlights, Stories, Urban Cycling

When last we met, my son and I were enjoying a post-Thanksgiving ride just north of the city:

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“Trick or treat, smell my feet, put some Proofide on my seat!”

Guest blogger Bike Snob NYC loses his head

31 Oct 2015  |  Posted by Bike Snob NYC  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Urban Cycling

The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak.
Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.


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You Can’t Spell “Brooklyn” Without “Brooks” (Though You Will Be Stuck With A Leftover “S”)

Guest Blogger Bike Snob NYC Revisits The Great Hipster Silk Route

13 Oct 2015  |  Posted by Bike Snob NYC  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Urban Cycling

On a recent Friday, as the storm clouds gathered, I slipped on my finest woollen jersey and headed out for a ride–though before going outside I always check myself out in the mirror first:

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Climbing the 21 Hairpins of Bureaucracy

Guest Blogger BSNYC Is Not A Puffin

7 Aug 2015  |  Posted by Bike Snob NYC  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Urban Cycling

Fundamentally there are two kinds of cycling.  There’s the escapist kind where you head out into the countryside in pursuit of some contrived goal, like covering a formidable distance or climbing a looming mountain.  Then there’s the realist kind where you bravely point your bike towards the heart of the city, and instead of doing battle with the landscape and the elements you confront traffic and potholes and the very forces of bureaucracy itself.  While the former may inform the bulk of stylized Internet cycling narratives it’s the latter style of cycling which truly tests both the mind and body of the cyclist, and is the stuff of which true “epics” and champions are made.

I am one of those champions, and this is the tale of one such “epic.”

All great rides start with a challenge, and mine was perhaps the greatest challenge of all: to get money back from the City of New York.  This is a near-impossibility, and it makes climbing the Tourmalet on a fixie look like, well, riding around Brooklyn on a fixie.  Nevertheless, having already filled out various online forms, I resolved to visit the actual offices of a city agency in search of restitution.

This would be no doddle, and equipment selection was crucial, so after much deliberation this was the bike I chose:

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The Riddle of the Sands Adventure Club – Taking a Classic Book for a Very Long Cycle Ride

Tim Wright joins the Brooks Blog to lift the lid on his epic adventure

4 Aug 2015  |  Posted by GUEST  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling

Boat - Holland

‘The Riddle of the Sands’ is one of those classic old adventure books that your dad (or grandad!) probably thrust upon you at an early age, but which you haven’t much thought about since. It tends to sit on the shelf alongside books like ‘The 39 Steps’, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ and ‘Treasure Island’.


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The Challenge of Training

Juliet reflects on her mission to get race ready

31 Jul 2015  |  Posted by Juliet Elliott  |  Categories: Bicycles, Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Sports Cycling, Stories, Urban Cycling

Several months ago I wrote a piece for this blog describing my battle with training. I’ve always struggled to commit to a strict and structured regime, preferring to simply ride hard and fast and randomly challenge myself by sprinting for signs and pegging it up hills. In some ways, what I wind up doing on a bike is my own peculiar and haphazard version of training, only I prefer to just call it cycling.


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En Corse – Cycle Travel with Bikecation

Rob Penn joins the Brooks Blog to recount a trip to Corsica

30 Jul 2015  |  Posted by GUEST  |  Categories: Correspondence, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling

The day started humbly – on a flat cycle path between a lagoon and the sea, with Bastia-Poretta airport as the backdrop. There was no sense then of the grandeur and the glory that awaited us. There was not even a hint of the beauty of Corsica – a level of pulchritude that I have seldom experienced in a single day on a bicycle. Nor, in the cool air of the young day was there any suggestion of the cauldron of heat we would encounter in the canyons ahead.


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Celestial Cycles

The summer solstice is longest day and shortest night of the year. It's revered by ancient cultures all around the world and always a good excuse for a bike adventure

17 Jun 2015  |  Posted by Jack Thurston  |  Categories: Correspondence, Events, Friends, Monthly highlights, Stories, Travel & Adventure Cycling, Urban Cycling

Long before the festivals of Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Ramadan or Thanksgiving came along human kind measured its progress through the year by observing the sun and the stars. The solstices are the pair of celestial bookends that mark the longest day of summer and the deepest depths of winter. Unlike religious and cultural festivals, which are ultimately products of the human imagination, the solstices are firmly rooted in the reality of our cosmic situation. Sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves that we live on a spherical rock hurtling around a gigantic nuclear explosion, spinning as it goes.

The Sweet Grass at Sunset. Photo (C) Nomadic Lass


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