The Fine Art of Masterbiking
One of the things I love best about cycling is that it is such a social sport. Since I started group riding about a year and a half ago, I have met tons of cool people that I wish I had known since I was a kid. And some I feel like I’ve known since I was a kid. I’ve met doctors and nurses, librarians, financial planners, computer programmers, builders, teachers, professors, technicians, trainers, bankers, accountants and others who have told me repeatedly what they do in their “real” lives, but I have failed to retain the details. I may have even forgotten their name.
Because generally we don’t remember each other that way. We remember each other by the kind of bikes we ride, or the jerseys we wear. There are people I will recognize by the way they sway from side to side when they climb, or the way they hold their water bottle when they drink. People I would never recognize on the street without a helmet on.
Riding in a peloton is indescribably beautiful. But sometimes circumstances dictate that it is necessary to ride alone. I call it masterbiking.
Like another certain “solo” activity, there is no question that having company is better in most cases. But, if you give it a chance, you can really relax and enjoy the uninhibited pleasure of being by yourself. Thankfully, I am quite fond of my own company.
If you are masterbiking indoors, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of great music. Correction, music YOU think is great. If you get excited by ABBA, go nuts. Currently I am digging Band of Horses, DJ Champion, Beck and Primus. The White Stripes, Weezer and Red Hot Chili Peppers are also consistent staples in my solo soundtrack. Instructional videos can be very helpful as well, providing excellent guidance for pacing and technique. Regular movies can help pass the time, but for me I find them an irritating and useless distraction. Unless Matthew McConaugh-babe is starring and shirtless.
Masterbiking outdoors is entirely different, and can be an extremely pleasurable activity given the right conditions. There is nothing better than masterbiking out in the in the middle of nowhere, with the sun beating down on your back and cows observing from a distance with nothing more than a passing curiosity. You have the luxury of stopping whenever the hell you want, don’t have to keep up with anybody, and never have to wait either.
One of the greatest challenges of masterbiking outdoors is documenting oneself. Because with nobody else around, you must prove you were hardass enough to go out on your own. For every one shot you manage to get like this:
you will take about a hundred like this:
Regardless, I would heartily encourage you to explore masterbiking. You won’t be sorry, and I swear to God you won’t go blind.