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· Reviewer/Tester
6,164 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I rode yesterday, as usual.

It is summer here in Oz, and the temperatures are gradually climbing as we approach the hottest time of the year.

I was on the 29'er.

The day was lovely, temperatures around 30 C. Once I got into the trail, the surrounding hills and trees blocked out the light wind.

Usually when I ride, I become lost. Not lost as in 'where the hell am I' ... but lost in the ride itself.

I have written before on the Zen of riding, how your mind is free of thought, the bike disappears, your body moves and flows and powers the machine but you have no thought of it, you see but do not look, you feel but do not conciously react, hear but do not strive to, think nothing yet are aware of everything.

You flow like water over rocks and roots, the bike beneath you gone, you are open to everything, aware of everything, but free of all thoughts. You absorb your surroundings, and they absorb you, but there is no effort involved in this act, it is the natural outcome of a still mind.

You are like .... nothing, lighter than a feather, drifting on a gentle zephyr through the forest.

If you have to think about doing something, it takes time, and is a distraction. In the Zen state, there is no thought... just reaction. You are empty, yet full.

When you walk, you don't think about how you balance. When you breath, you dont think about your lungs. Your heart beats, yet takes no thought.

These things are just ... there, and require no effort or thought at all.

Zen is a state of mind, an empty quietness full of peace. The ride itself disappears, and so do you, absorbed into it, you become nothing, and everything at the same time.

No thought. Nothing. Empty and full of peace. Still, yet you move...flow.

Yesterday was not like that. I thought about what I was doing. I blundered along, crashed, wobbled and scraped my way through a trail that I would class as medium / easy.

I was not in tune, not flowing, not graceful. My timing was off, my riding was terrible. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it got.

By the time I got back home again, I was absolutely exhausted, totally wasted, and feeling very bad.

My mind had not been still, but full of thoughts... steer there, do this, lean here, turn there, jump that, pedal now, do this, do that, watch out .... ! thump ! ... ouch ! .... damnit ! try harder, push, push.. ohh no.. faster..slower..

... N o t Z e n ...


· Feet back and spread 'em!
624 Posts
some of each

I've had Zen rides and struggle/scrape/crash rides. Seems like I had most of the latter on my old FS gearie and most of the former on my new SS.

BTW, are you going to gather up your many well written posts into a book? or Blog?

· rider
2,354 Posts
Thanks for another fine post

The only solution I find to having less of those rides like you had yesterday is twofold:

Ride more, and before each ride take a few moments to leave your baggage at the door.
As often as possible, I try to recall the entire feeling of being totally "in the moment" of some past high zen state ride.

I always refer to one those magical zen rides as a "transparent ride", every distraction from the true moment of being one with the earth, flowing over her trail, fades to nothingness...

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