It’s rare I’ve been able to hear someone talk about something with as much passion as I talk about my stupid bicycle. I can spend hours, days, weeks keeping up to date with the current technological trends, the fashion, the professionals, and the recent races, all from a spectator standpoint. Then as I’m sure many of my readers know, I can spend more time than that discussing the physical qualities of a bicycle both as a machine and as an extension of the body. The detail in the lugs, the material, the fit; then the way it rides, how it makes you feel, what kind of work you can put into it. Then there’s the mechanical standpoint, benefits of carbon, ceramic bearing, marginal gains, cantilever vs discs.
I like reading blogs like bikesnobnyc because it brings all the ridiculousness to light in a comedic way and pretty much puts you back in your place, that there are more important things in life than riding a bicycle. But this past weekend I met a man who couldn’t stop talking about kayaking. He takes trips across the globe not in an all inclusive hotel, not hosteling and backpacking, but renting kayaks and exploring cities and nature from the vantage point of the water. He described industrial cities, which these days tend to be derelict, but have beautiful access to water and amazing detailing in construction and ironwork that you can sometimes only see when you are kayaking under bridges and see the work of the craftsman below.
The river is what brings life inland from the ocean, and what better way to explore than Henry David Thoreau did in 1839;
“The Mississippi, the Ganges, and the Nile, those journeying atoms from the Rocky Mountains, the Himalayah, and mountains of the moon, have a kind of personal importance in the annals of the world. The heavens are not yet drained over their sources, but the mountains of the moon still send their annual tribute to the Pasha without fail, as they did to the Pharaohs, though he must collect the rest of his revenue at the point of the sword. Rivers must have been the guides which conducted the footsteps of the first travelers. They are the constant lure, when they flow by our doors, to distant enterprise and adventure; and, by a natural impulse, the dwellers on their banks will at length accompany their currents to the lowlands of the globe, or explore at their invitation the interior of continents. They are the natural highways of all nations, not only leveling the ground and removing obstacles from the path of the traveler, quenching his thirst and bearing him on their bosoms, but conducting him through the most interesting scenery, the most populous portions of the globe, and where the animal and vegetable kingdoms attain their greatest perfection.”
There are countless activities you can spend your free time doing, whether it’s kayaking or cycling, drawing, writing or coding, playing video games or cooking or eating out, hiking and exploring the outdoors, or staying in and watching a movie, no matter what you’re doing on the weekends, I hope you’re doing it with love.