Tuesday, 21st January 2014

by Joshua Gaskell

Maxims for Cyclists

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk. He pedals the air, the earth sings when he touches it, the basest rubber of his wheel is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. He is pure air and fire, and the dull elements of earth and water never appear on him. He is indeed a bike.

  1. There is no such thing as “road tax.” It is called Vehicle Excise Duty, which is a clue as to why cyclists don’t pay it.
  2. Cyclists don’t keep fit, they are fit.
  3. The advantages of gears and mudguards should not be lightly surrendered.
  4. When there is no cycle lane it is the power of the powerless to ride as if there were; to wear a mental carsuit and make their own space. And when a motorist drives in the cycle lane it is called kerb-crawling, which is an offence.
  5. At rush hour London is as Pandæmonium, the high capital of Satan and his peers. A bicycle is a tool with which to fight the good fight and assert your will upon it.
  6. Inner London is about fifteen miles across at its widest point. Nowhere is as far away as you think.
  7. The Tube Map is a brilliant invention, but the power of saying where one is on the earth is not one to be lightly surrendered. Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est: the Knowledge is power.
  8. In mainland Europe they have a civilised culture of cyclists sharing the pavement with pedestrians. Unless one has stabilisers, suffice it to say that this is England.
  9. A sense of place and a connection to one’s lived environment are good for mental wellbeing. Cycling provides them.
  10. At the gym people ride on, at, in, among, inside, between, near, opposite, until. Real cyclists ride from, via and to.

Every valley shall be raised up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth.