Had to send out some bike mojo for the Corrective Action Bicycle Club. Did so, of course, by bike.
It started with tattoo research, really. I was thinking about getting a tattoo of the Chinese characters (because those aren’t cliché at all, right?) for the Buddhist* Precept of either ‘Right Action’ or ‘Right Effort’ – so I was reading up on the difference between the two. The word action just sounded better than effort to me, even though it was a bit weird and specific. There’s tons of variations and translations out there of the Precepts but here is the one I found that seemed to encompass the general idea of most of them:
“RIGHT ACTION: Right action aims at promoting moral, honorable, and peaceful conduct. It admonishes us that we should abstain from destroying life, from stealing, from dishonest dealings, from illegitimate sexual intercourse, and that we should also help others to lead a peaceful and honorable life in the right way.”
So uh, yeah – that’s all good – if not a bit strange. As it relates to the CABC I guess you could apply that to say we shouldn’t steal bikes or in any way have illegitimate sex on them, but really, if you can pull off sex on a bike, my hat’s off to you. What I took the most to heart was the last part that said “we should help others to lead a peaceful and honorable life in the right way.” That was some action I thought we could apply here.
You could think of riding a bike as selfish or solitary endeavor, but let’s break down for a minute what happens on a lot of bike rides. You have your rhythmic spinning of the pedals and wheels. A floating sensation when coasting. Drifting to and fro as the terrain permits. It can be very meditative. Or maybe you’re out hammering – the singular focus of maintaining your target effort in the face of difficulty or suffering has the ability to focus your mind singularly.
Either way, you’re changing your mind.
You’ll come out of the ride with a different – arguably improved – attitude. In improving your state of mind and attitude you are changing how you perceive and interact with others. That has the ripple effect. In simple terms, change yourself to change the world – we hear this all the time in various ways. Maybe the change today starts with a bike ride. And maybe, if you can improve your outlook, it will help your interaction with others, and in-turn inspire, inform or improve theirs. You can go for a bike ride for yourself and “help others to lead a peaceful and honorable life in the right way.” Ride Action is Right Action.
Bruce Lee talked about this idea of self-improvement through action. In his book Striking Thoughts he comments, “Action is a highroad to self-confidence and esteem. Where it is open, all energies flow toward it. It comes readily to most people, and its rewards are tangible.” The rewards of a bike ride are tangible – for you as well as others.
I never decided on a tattoo. I couldn’t decide between Right Action and Right Effort. The visual geek in me got bogged down in how the characters looked and I started to loose the meaning behind them. Truth be told, from what I can understand, Right Effort is more internal – it’s about the efforts and energies you allow to arise within you. No doubt these are important as well, but when I’m riding bikes, that’s ACTION, baby. I’m DOING THE THING.
So get out there change yourself and change the World. It’s as easy as riding a bike.
*The CABC is entirely non-denominational. You do your thing and let the next person do their thing. Better yet, go on a bike ride with a bunch of people into different things than you and talk about things. I’ll bet you a CABC water bottle (which don’t exist yet) you learn something new.
When I initially conceived of this club I brainstormed all kinds of ideas to get people engaged and spread the word. One was to send emails to a bunch of folks asking them to submit a few words on how riding a bike has been a corrective action for them. I was going to in-turn, use these as Instagram posts and blog posts here so I’d have some content in the vault to dole out over time as the club grew.
Or I thought I could collect them all and post them here on the site on a sort of ‘Wall of Action’, and have a form for people to submit their own. I knew some people might only want to submit anonymously – and that was ok too.
What I really wanted was, a. for people to think about how riding bikes affected them – more than the usual “oh, it makes me feel good,” or “I do it for the exercise,” type responses. To really sit with the notion and dig deeper; and b. to compile this varied and honest cross section of how bikes impacted peoples’ lives and hopefully connect people with shared experiences as well as exposing folks to some new ones.
I decided against it because…well…I thought the email’d just be bugging people. And as far as a section on the blog compiling entries – why make more work for myself when people could just use hashtags and just make it their own – incorporating it into what they do already. Isn’t that what hashtags are for anyway?
As part of my initial email pitch, I did sit down and write my own ‘Personal Action’ – how riding bikes has been a corrective action for me:
Like so many other people I’ve riding bikes since I was a kid. For fun, transportation, fitness – the whole deal. Around 5 years ago I quit drinking and abusing drugs and in the resulting clarity I’ve come to realize the bike was giving me so much more than I’d initially thought. Among many benefits, three things stood out.
First it’s a manifestation of my need and desire to move forward in the world under my own power, yet still abide in the support and companionship of family, friends and community.
Second, it’s a reminder for me in this ever faster, changing world to slow down and live at ‘human speed;” to work on forward progress in a way that still allows for human connection and the development of good relationships while continuing to learn, grow and create. It’s an admonition to always try and be ‘the best version of myself’.
Third, it’s a way to move through the world in a manner that is beneficial and respectful to both myself and others – in addition to the natural world around me. It represents my effort to be ‘in’ and ‘of’ the world while trying to leave behind a positive impact and initiate change that I think is important. It reminds me that when I’m struggling for significance in the effort to make change, even the smallest and simplest actions matter. Even when I feel ineffective or lost with regards as what to do, a bike ride is always doing something. Intention breeds action. Ride action is Right Action.
That’s how it works for me. And the thing is, it continues to evolve over time. It’s organic and growing.
If you feel strongly about the positive impact that riding bikes has had on your life, maybe think about sharing your thoughts with the hashtags #correctiveactionbicycleclub or #rideactionisrightaction on social media, or making your own blog post about it. The overarching goal is to connect with others who feel the same as well as maybe introduce some folks who don’t ride bikes all that much to everything that they offer simply through being an example.
If you’d like to feature your ‘Personal Action’ here – I’d love to post it, feel free to drop me a line and we can work out the details.
Mostly I just wanted to hang out in my garage, drink coffee and talk about bikes. Then ride them. Or ride them before. Either order works.
For years I’ve thought about opening some sort brick-and-mortar bike club/cafe. I would even scope spots. Plan. Scheme. Dream.
Comic book superhero Origin Stories always start with some sort of radioactive animal bite or a mishap with nuclear material. This story is probably far less-cool.
I thought I could have a bike club in my garage. Then I remembered I live in the middle of nowhere. Both Nationally AND Internationally. I live in the sticks. I guess that makes my garage/clubhouse ‘exclusive’ in big city terms.
So I thought of a ‘virtual clubhouse’. But I didn’t want an online bulletin board or a forum. There’s not enough virtual beat up couches to lounge on in those. So I thought I could just make the whole internet – and by extension, the whole world the clubhouse. That’s the magic power of a hashtag right?
With a hashtag, everyone’s garage becomes the Clubhouse. Everyone’s ride becomes The Club Ride. We can all share.
I was inspired by Tarik and his club – the complete absence of red tape. Two simple rules – and one you only sorta have to follow – and you’re in. If you’re not a member, become one. I’m a member in long-standing. I told him personally, I think the Tarik Saleh Bike Club is the best thing on the internet, period. I still do. I often wonder why I’m bothering with this one.
As mentioned on the homepage – I also took Ben Weaver’s words seriously to heart. How seriously? Wrote ’em on the wall in my garage/clubhouse seriously. If I can somehow channel one-tenth of the mojo Ben has going on, I’ll be winning in my book.
Check both these guys out. Basically them, riding bikes with my buddy Andrew and coffee are the reason this ‘club’ exists, the reason I felt compelled to do something other than just ride my bike and keep to myself. I wanted to ‘tell about it’.
I don’t know where this will go. If you’re interested, you’ll have to stay tuned. The Clubhouse is currently my garage and your garage. Group rides are wherever I go and wherever you go. You get the point. I work on bikes, drink coffee and talk smack in my garage. Then I go riding with friends. That mindset and mojo seeps onto the internet and the rest of my life in various ways. That part is what the club is about.
I have a whole Apple Notes folder full of ideas of what the club could be, things I could do – various ‘actions’ – merch (of course at some point there has to be merch) – but for now, I’m just going to ride my bike, ‘tell about it’ and see where that takes me. Come along for the ride.