As a grade schooler, I sought very little social interaction. I was physically clumsy, had odd speech patterns, and completely failed to pick up on the social cues most of us take for granted.
Even as an adult in my 50th year of life, I don’t do smalltalk, I have no close friendships and I’m uncomfortable around emotional people and transparency. I realize I speak in a boring monotone, but I don’t know how to fix that. I have to work very hard to express interest and not space out when people talk to me.
I envy people like Ted of Biking In LA, who can express a great deal of empathy toward people who suffer tragedy. While most people innately “get” social skills as a human trait, I had to learn these skills intellectually in the same way you might memorize math tables.
My wife is the completely opposite of me, and has helped me to better understand human intersection. She is Captain Kirk to my Spock personality. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, she counsels families with children on the autism spectrum. She bought The White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna for her practice. Because it involves a bicycle, I read this young adult novel and, wow, it impacts me like no other book I’ve read.
I’ve never been interested in long-distance touring, but Peter Rice’s practical philosophy and light humor in his Spandex Optional Bicycle Touring: How to ride long distance, the cheap and easy way might convince me to give it a try.
The other week I was just riding the bus when a Santa Cruz hippie dressed in earth-tones boarded and sat right next to me. After a few moments, I detected nuances of bicycle lube and brazing flux under the odor of human labor and raw lanolin. I recognized the guy by his smell; I looked over and, sure enough, it’s local bike builder extraordinaire Josh Muir.
Mark Cavendish is his usual hilarious if profane self in the followup to his popular Boy Racer book. He’ll lose the yellow jersey this afternoon during the individual time trial in the Amgen Tour of California, so get it while it’s hot.
Have you seen the movie about the alcoholic has-been who coaches a team of unmotivated rejects to near victory at the championship game?
I’m reading the True Life sequel. Land of Second Chances: The Impossible Rise of Rwanda’s Cycling Team is a remarkable look at 21st Century cycling in Rwanda.
Carlton Reid has been a cycling journalist for over twenty years and today publishes BikeBiz, a bike industry trade journal. I’ve never seen him in a car until I saw his Kickstarter video for this new book Roads Were Not Built for Cars.
Cyclists already know that early roads were paved at the behest of cyclists. Carlton reveals even more connections between driving and cycling, showing, for example, that early car enthusiasts such as Karl Benz and Charles Stewart Rolls (of Rolls Royce) were also avid cyclists. He writes that even Henry Ford was known for biking to work as he developed his Model T, no doubt thinking there’s got to be a way to show up to the office without getting covered in road grime and sweat.
Carlton is English and the prices for his Kickstarter campaign are in Pounds Sterling, but Kickstarter will convert UK currency into American dollars for us Yankees. He’s already met his fundraising goal, but supporter perks are still available for the project. Carlton spends almost as time in America as in the UK, and he covers American road history at least as well as he does of his home country in this two-year long project.
Go here to learn more and support Roads Were Not Built for Cars.