One of the most valuable things about bicycle riding is that it gives masses of personal choice.
The range of choice is vast.
I can decide how carefully I oil, clean and maintain my bike. I can decide what clothing and additional gear to use for the road and weather conditions.
When to begin, where to go, what speed or effort I input, how quick or slow, when to pause, or take a random detour, and where and when to end my ride. It’s all up to me, only me.
What most excites and occupies my attention, and hardly applies at all to everyday routine, is STAYING ALIVE.
When I am downed and I die playing a computer game, I regenerate and continue on carefree for as long as I like.
When out riding, I actively choose to live to ride another day.
Every metre of the way is the object of highly pleasurable, intense, tunnel vision concentration.
What is my wheel doing in relation to my chosen line of travel? What decisions do I need to make in various distance and time frames based on anticipatory riding? What are other highway users doing? More to the point, what are they likely to be doing up to and beyond normal expectations, which might affect what my bike and I are and will be doing?
My version of anticipatory riding imagines the scene of my own violent death every few metres. What I do right now involves my scanning all possible scenarios and strategies, from ordinary to extreme, to avoid getting snared in such a grisly disaster.
I will usually engage in this mental theatre of horrors before I saddle up. This is how I install and set up my personal life assurance policy for the trip ahead. Even if the weather is mild, I will wear something warm to help delay the onset of shock while lying in the road till help arrives.
Oh, and for life savers, I use my referee’s whistle dangling from my crash helmet. It clears traffic and pedestrians out of my path.
I remember to cast my Look Of Life. This vital head-turn reminds the driver behind that a person is in their controlled area.
And as I go, I paint on my face an expression that reads, “Heavily Armoured No Compromise”.