Monday, March 17, 2008


Not being a linguist, I honestly don’t have a clue about the origin of the word “sensational”. However, it seems a perfectly appropriate word to blend the ideas of “sense” and “satiate”. In other words, according to my opinion, something that totally satiates the senses could be called sensational. Of course, this fabrication of word history is pure fiction on my part. As long as we’re making stuff up, however, it also seems that a word combination like that could have come from a cyclist.

Unlike so many pursuits of our spectator-dominated lifestyles, cycling is a participant activity. It is something we DO and it tickles the senses it ways motor vehicles and other spectator-based entertainment can not. Cycling is a sensual experience. During most rides, doesn’t cycling touch each of our senses?

For example, imagine the cold, dark, rainy, morning ride. We feel the brisk air on the tips of our nose, fingers, and toes. Rain water intercepted by helmet or glasses, drips down, still cold, to our tongue. Our eyes dart from side to side, scanning the shadows for looming danger. In the dark, our ears are especially alert. We listen carefully through hissing tires rolling across wet pavement and through shallow puddles for cars approaching from behind. With each revolution of cranks, we breathe in rhythm the scent of fresh, rain-cleansed air.

The experience might be totally delightful, like those times on quiet, empty roads when you cross a bridge and hear the sound of the creek flow below. Or it might be one in which there is more than enough of one type of sense-tickling going on. Whether it’s too cold, too noisy, or like early spring in rural Texas, too many squashed skunks on the road. There is no question that cycling fills the senses.


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