Monday, 22 January 2018

Applying Judgements & Who we are versus what we have

Being away from the usual routine allows time and space for your mind to reflect and wander to many areas and subjects.

A different environment and new people also assist this mind meandering.

I have just returned from 8 days cycling in Adelaide, Australia and following the Tour Down Under, Australia’s premier professional Men’s and Women’s cycling races.

This is a week where Adelaide is overtaken by Cyclists from all over Australia and many parts of the World. It is a week of positive energy where physically healthy, fit and active people are brought together by a common love of cycling.

Many cycling related organisations arrange group rides duing the week and I joined several including an afternoon shake down ride last Monday.

A scenic ride route had been designed and we meandered through the hills outside Adelaide, through Belair National Park before a fast and scenic decent back in to Adelaide. As is usual for such events, there are staged stops to regroup as different people ascend and descend at varying speeds.

Events at these stops left me pondering two things. The first being about how we are inclined to inflict our own judgements on others and secondly, the different importance we place on what we have versus who we are. 

Both circumstances revolved around my bike.

99.99% of road bikes are constructed from Carbon Fibre. My bike fits in to the remaining .01% and is made from Titanium.

As such, my bike is occasionally subjected to attention and I am required to speak on its behalf.

The first situation took place at one of the re-group stops. A lady asked me about the bike and I gave the standard questions as to why I opted for Titanium over Carbon. After saying some complimentary things, she asked me how much it weighed.

Her pleasant demeaner changed when I said I had no idea.

She then abused me saying how ridiculous it was that I didn’t know and asked why I refused to tell her. I responded saying that if I was concerned about having a super light bike I would have gone for Carbon Fibre adding that it probably weighed about a kilogram more than hers.

She told me it is just stupid that I don’t know and I should know how much it weighs.

Slightly annoyed, I responded saying that I could very easily lose a few kilograms before worrying about a saving of a couple of hundred grams in frame weight. Was I rude? Perhaps because we both knew she had far more weight available to lose than I did. She left in a huff.

In her mind, all that mattered was the weight of the bike and it was through this paradigm she judged me. She genuinely felt I was stupid for not knowing the weight.

At a second stop, a group of about 5 gathered around me asking about and dare I say, admiring my bike. As we set off, one of the “admirers” formed up in the bunch alongside me and after a little while said “My bike is the best here”. I replied with a simple “Ok, that’s good” and he went in to a description of his Colnago model something with this and that.

Again my simple “that’s great” was met with several follow up statement asserting that his is the best bike and finally ending with “My bike is better than yours”. “Ok” was my response as a need to go into single file opened up and along with it, an opportunity to accelerate away.

I was in equal parts amused and amazed by this conversation. My reasons for buying my bike are to have a long lasting, strong bike that will withstand the demands of airline travel. I intend to be riding the same bike in 20 years’ time and to continue to travel the world with it

My ride colleague that day seemed more concerned that “his stuff is better than everyone else’s stuff”.

I was left pondering that he cares more about what he has than he does about who he is or what he stands for as a person.

However, in reality, he is probably doing what we all do at some stage of our life. Many, including me, have at one time or another measured or sort to measure our success by the pursuit of possessions ahead of prosecuting our values.

One path leads us on the road to fulfillment while the other takes us down a road with no end.

On another matter, today represents the end of my holidays and a return to at least one post each week day. It is not as if I haven’t been writing these last few weeks, it is just that it has been on a commercial basis.

Thanks for reading today and for doing so these last 8 months or so.

Let 2018 begin and may we enjoy  and be enlightened by the journey.

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