Guest Post – Brendan

So I made a list of people that have shaped the direction of my riding, and of my life, over the years… And these people I have invited to write something for this space… Today see’s the first of these uneditted Guest Posts…

When I first moved to Sydney, and was experimenting with trials, Brendan was top dog… But unlike the way a lot of other sports see their strongest athletes end up in some little clique, Brendan was all about helping the new guy… I owe a lot of the awesome times I have had riding bikes to the fact that Brendan kept me motivated and inspired to get better when I could just have easily have thrown it away…

A lot has changed, in both our lives, but Brendan is still someone I look up to and respect, these days for other reasons and it’s nice to have him contributing to this space…

Lot’s of links, but I really enjoyed this…

 

Hi, I’m not Adam… Adam asked me if I’d like to write up a guest-post for A Therapy for Pain, so here I am… Who am I? A friend of Adam’s, a rider and a blogger… I’ve been writing a very poorly advertised blog esuburbs.blogspot.com for about eleven years now. And a couple years back I threw up ridecampride.blogspot.com to focus on some camping and riding… I’ve been enjoying A Therapy for Pain a lot over the last few months and I’m pretty happy to be invited into the space, so thanks Adam...

Firstly, can I say “guilty as charged“: stuffwhitepeoplelikefirstworldproblems, PortlandiaIt’s all trueBut you knowthere is pain, suffering and angst in being anybody on the pale blue dot, not specifically in the centre of the galaxy or universe or anything. So every once in a while it’s the right thing to do to imagine as you spin 70kms into the wild that your bottom bracket spindle is the centre of the universe, and that it’s totally still and that everything else is rotating around it… Not a particularly evidence-based thing to do, but an imagining that is (likely) uniquely human, and thereby somehow validating… I mean, any bonobo can physically manipulate itself to distraction… It’s the people who can spin the yarns and have a fiddle in the dreamtime… Or as Willy Wonka quotes O’Shaughnessy: “We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams…”

You can pull me up here for being culturally insensitive if you like, but I’ve got a pretty good inkling that the actual therapy for the pain is in the dreaming… One way of getting to that is the riding… It’s a way that works for me. Without getting hopelessly lost in mystical semantics, or treading more than knee-deep into somebody else’s culture, I just wanted to point out that riding (specifically long, difficult rides in the non-built environment) shares a whole lot with many legendary forms of vision-quest. The harder you go, the more shamanic it gets…

A couple years back I found myself fully packed, alone, pretty far out of town, and nearing the end of both my physical ability and the light of day… I won’t be forgetting those deceptively quiet moments anytime soon. As magic hours go, that one was pivotal and valued and rich in some sort of meaning that basically lives “out there…” I didn’t get to bring it all back. I got a few happy snaps and a couple blog posts out of it, but very little of what you “get” out there actually survives the trip back… Kind of a lot like dreams…?

I like to write poetryHow’s that for a confession? But I had to mention that before I talk about using metaphors… Using metaphors or finding them or employing them  can be game-changing. The power of metaphor is one of the things I find compelling about poetry, and it’s something I use when looking at the world…

A long time back, like when I first met Adam, we were both into observed trials. I don’t want to get too into the finer points of trials riding here, but I do want to reference what we used to call “trials eyes”.  Trials is the discipline of trying to imagine “how would I ride my bike over that?” And when you’re really into it, you find yourself obsessively asking that question. When you see the world through trials eyes, it’s like the world is one big section waiting to be ridden…

As a poet, the world offers something a lot like trials eyes (link NSFW)Everything becomes metaphor... Everything is worth comparing to something else to draw out some greater meaning (well, some bits are more worthwhile than others…) With that in mind, I want to mention here one of the best bits of advice I got when I was planning my solo trip in Western Australia, and it’s information with pedigree…

 I had the opportunity to talk to Mick Angus (producer of the fantastic documentary Salt – about Murray Fredricks’ quest to photograph an endless horizon while bike camping out the middle of Lake Eyer…) I wanted to get an idea of what their disaster plan was, but the one thing that stuck with me was this advice:

“Talk to the locals. Tell them what you’re planning, and seek their advice. Remember that they live out there, and that they’re the ones who always get called away from things they need to be doing to pull knuckleheads (like you) out of hairy situations. Show them the proper respect…”

At the time, I used this advice quite seriously… I talked to people I wouldn’t ordinarily open up to. And it ended up helping me greatly… One of truths I held prior to the ride was that “people” are the most dangerous thing you can encounter on a solo adventure… I still have a hard time pushing my expectations up against my evidence, but I think I did learn something about “solo” from those casual country chats leaning on a fence…

In retrospect, when I listen to that advice as a rider, as a poet, as somebody interested in going outside and getting stuck-in, I can’t help but hear the metaphor… If we loosen the advice to include not only talking to people, but the Place itself, the Path, the conversation can broaden… Open up to the unexpected wisdom of ‘ubiety‘ (:something unique to the place) to go “outside” well, well enough to be able to appreciate what’s there (the dreaming, the therapy, whatever you want to call it…) If the place isn’t worth opening up to, why would you go thereWhy wouldn’t you sit on the ground just anywhere?

So next time you get there, even on your way there, let the Path know, let the Place know why you’re there and what your intentions are…

See if there isn’t a reply…

 

 

One response

  1. Brendan

    I’m pretty sure what nobody thinks is missing from this post is another link, but one special link fell out during editing on my side. I wanted to be sure to link to Salt. It’s a great doco, and those guys were very helpful: http://www.saltdoco.com/

    April 27, 2012 at 9:04 am

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