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    Cycle Chant

           Recently, I took up chanting. Whilst riding my bike. Whenever I pass a fellow exerciser, even though I’m chanting, I smile and wave. This induces a bewildered look from most people. The audio-visual dynamic of a man chanting while cycling as he waves at you is probably a little strange. Maybe people aren't used to a guy on a bike being friendly. Or chanting. Or both.
            For some reason, cyclist, the kind who dress like they’re doing the Tour de France through your neighborhood, can come off as the unfriendliest exercisers ever to break a sweat. “Unfriendly Cyclist Syndrome”, or U.C.S., afflicts thousands of people around the country, especially in affluent areas like mine. Cyclists with U.C.S. rarely acknowledge any sort of greeting. They don’t even grunt at you. Why the attitude? Is this because they’re in “The Zone” and can’t come out of it? Are they resentful of people who drive and take that out on everybody, even pedestrians? This is not a rhetorical question. Any avid cyclists out there who can help me with this, please respond. I want to understand.
            Cyclist rarely smile at me when I’m riding because they probably think I’m completely bastardizing the sport by combining chanting with bike riding. Or maybe it’s because I never wear a helmet. Ever. I hate the damn things. Yes, a helmet could save my life if I fell. Yes, it’s foolish not to wear one. So I’m a fool. A dangerous fool. I’m okay with that.
            Chanting as I cycle gets me my cardio while I practice a spiritual pursuit. Eventually, I want the chanting to help me quiet my mind, which is one of it’s benefits. I haven’t gotten there yet.
            Maybe when I do, I’ll become one of those Unfriendly Cyclist because I’ll be in a place where I don’t know there’s anybody else on the planet, never mind somebody coming the other way waving at me. If that’s the case, I’d better get a helmet as well. Because if I’m that out of it, my chances of being hit by a car increase from unlikely to unavoidable.
            No. I can’t accept that. I trust that, when I get to the point where the chanting quiets my mind while I’m biking, I’ll still be aware enough to be friendly and appropriately alert. That has to be way. Because I’m always going to smile and wave. And I’m not wearing a helmet.

    © 2008 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a cataclysmic amount of Wrongs) Reserved

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