3 a day

You’ll Never Walk Alone

thenewinquiry:

If walking is the most philosophical way of getting around, solitary strolls in nature won’t cut it. You have to choose who to march alongside. 

Ways of getting around come with their own outlooks on the world. Cars, Americans are told again and again, mean freedom and comfort. Yet they can just as well be a burden, from the social costs of car-dependent communities to the way cars turn drivers into isolated individuals raging at the world outside their little metal box. Public transit can feel frustrating, involving lots of waiting and plodding routes. But there’s a solidarity that emerges on the subway or bus, the feeling that we’re all in it together, that makes it feel democratic. Whereas walking, trusting your own two feet, can mark one out as an interloper. It’s the mode of the solitary thinker, the flâneur, the backpacker. Yet it can be just as much a communal activity – from the solidarity of through-hikers on the Appalachian Trail to the crowd at a demonstration, people are on their own two feet together. The ambivalence of walking, which makes room for solo saunters and mass marches alike, has made it attractive to quite a few artists and thinkers.

For Frédéric Gros, a Parisian professor and Foucault specialist, walking is also the most philosophical way of getting around. In A Philosophy of Walking (originally published as Marcher: une philosophie in 2009), Gros expounds a view of the world in which walking is the cure for all modernity’s indignities. Setting off on a walk is self-liberation, discarding drab duties or even rejecting a “rotten, polluted, alienating, shabby civilization” for an ascetic freedom. Given his interest in Foucault, one might expect Gros to see the aimless, rambling walk as an evasive countermeasure against surveillance and discipline. But his emphasis is more on the philosophical, timeless value of wandering. He brings home the extent to which walking, practically the simplest activity there is, has been made almost peculiar in most societies. Yet his fundamentally Romantic sensibility leads him to an odd vision of the practice—so caught up in the sublime and lofty that it misses what’s at its own feet.

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Long read, but most worthy of your attention.


Are you afraid? I am. Every race is terrifying. Every corner, every obstacle, every descent, every bit of gravel or dirt. The sound of brakes squealing and the screams. The sirens and horns honking. The feeling of bumping bars and hips. The sight of bloodied bodies and broken bikes. The sickening sensation of your wheels sliding out from under you. The searing pain that shoots through you when you take a hit. The fear starts to creep up days before and reaches a crippling level by the start of the race. Sometimes it’s so bad it makes me physically sick and I don’t think I will even manage to get on my bike, let alone race 140km.

But what exactly is so scary? I had never really thought about it beyond the fact that racing a bike in a bunch was categorized under “terrifying things” in my mind. Leading up to the Ronde van Drenthe weekend, I was talking with my sports psychologist and she asked me exactly that: what are you afraid of? It got me thinking about it and I realized that I wasn’t really afraid of anything except for the fear itself. It was an irrational, fight or flight, survival instinct type of fear.

Ronde van Drenthe: A World Cup, a Euro Cup, and a lot of Lessons Learned | ANIKA (the beast) TODD

I really really love this blog, you should definitely read it!

(via womenscycling)