Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Bike Shorts Omen


Note: This post is a blog ‘cross-over’ event. It is not the end of Circumsolatious, but it is the beginning of Riding E Mundo (blog) which grew from the small seed of a $3 pair of bike shorts found on the 2010 Spring Equinox. 'E Mundo' is short for an Electric Yuba Mundo Cargo Bike. Mundo also means 'World' in Spanish.

Being a fan of recycling, reusing and bargains, the Salvation Army and Goodwill are two of my two favorite stores. My affinity for second-hand shopping goes deeper than the joys of being frugal and being a friend of the environment. I always detect and appreciate a bit of soulful magic at play. As if what I want or need will somehow be there on the day I choose to shop ... as if an all-organizing force of the Soul arranges everything just so that I will find some valuable treasure.

This past March Equinox I found a brand new pair of Pearl Izumi bike shorts at a Salvation Army store for $3 which fit me perfectly. Knowing these shorts retail for over $100 trumped the fact that I had not biked in over four years nor was I planning to get back in the saddle anytime soon due to ongoing repercussions from Lyme disease contracted in 2006. The purchase felt overly optimistic and a bit futile because of my health and also because, since 2006, I have lived on a long, steep, narrow and winding road that I have had no interest biking up or down.

A month after finding the shorts, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig exploded and the devastation caused by oil extraction and consumption compelled me to want to use less petroleum. Since biking still seemed to be out of the question or realm of possibility for me in March, I began thinking about replacing my small SUV with a small electric car.

Then a series of influences and circumstances throughout the Spring brought biking back into my realm of possibility; and on the Summer Solstice I ordered a electric Yuba Mundo Cargo Bicycle (E Mundo for short) from The Bicycle Works in San Anslemo, laying down a $500 deposit. In order to amass the rest of the payment for the expensive bike, I promptly sold two diamonds, one from my maternal grandmother's wedding ring (before she up-graded to a nicer diamond) and the other, from a cuff link of my maternal grandfather. I have never been one to drool over or covet expensive jewelry, so it was easy-enough to let the sparkly chunks of carbon go. It was a pure joy to liberate them towards a more useful and dynamic purpose in my life. I think my grandfather, who had been president of Cummins (Diesel) Engines of West Virginia in his day, would have been proud to see the jewels converted into an electric cargo bike. My grandmother, a frugalista herself, would have been more proud of the bike shorts acquisition, knowing that she trained me well in the art of finding valuables in second-hand stores.

From the Summer Solstice I then had to wait a full month for all the bike parts to be shipped, assembled and fine tuned by the bike techs and mechanics of The Bicycle Works. It was a long wait. At one point I took my boyfriend Alan down to the shop for a test ride so he could see for himself what I had ordered and also to remind myself why I had ordered it. While waiting for co-owner Spokey to finish up with a customer hovering over the beautiful orange E Mundo that we were about to ride, Alan poked me and whispered, ‘That’s Robin Williams.’ Much impressed by his interest in the bike, we soon hopped on our testers and rode though the hills and flat lands of San Anselmo, looping back around to the shop with ear-to-ear smiles on our faces.

For weeks I have realized that finding the bike shorts at the Salvation Army was a good omen or symbol for my future vitality and mobility. But now, after looking back at the various dates when I found the shorts, when I put a down payment on the bike, and when I took the bike home, etc., I see that the all-organizing consciousness-force of the Soul has been laying out a more interesting and uplifting plot than I had thought to expect. I see that the bike shorts were not just an omen foretelling something that would transpire in linear time, but moreover they were a seed planted on the Spring Equinox that developed and grew in tune and in harmony with the rhythm and geometries of the Tropical Zodiac, i.e. cyclical time. The bike shorts appeared at 0° Aries – the beginning of the Tropical Year. I initiated the bike purchase a quarter of the year later at 0° Cancer, and the bike was ready for me when the Sun moved into the sign of Leo, i.e. a third of the circle from 0° Aries. I did not consciously or mentally plan the unfolding. It had a spontaneous and fascinating life, logic and rhythm of its own.

Since the Spring Equinox of 2000, I have studied the geometries drawn or laid out by the individual and collective soul as it manifests and evolves in 360° cycles of time and space (see The Gnostic Circle by Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet and Circumsolatious blog). This study and course of yoga grew from my love of the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in the 1990’s. They were deeply familiar with the all-organizing and supramental consciousness-force that coordinates circumstances towards the reclamation of lost treasure, lost gnosis, lost truth-consciousness-bliss, lost unity, lost divinity, lost wholeness, ect. So it is not too surprising for me to look back and see that two memorable dreams, featuring Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, also fit in with the theme being played out in tune with the rhythm of the Tropical Zodiac. As the Sun moved into Gemini, I dreamt that I was one of two lions running across steep cliffs and beach coves at full speed and with great strength and agility. The other lion, in my heart and mind, was Sri Aurobindo. I woke grateful for that profound experience of full vitality and dynamic power. A month later, upon the Summer Solstice I dreamt that the Mother charged each part of my very tired physical body with substantial and visible light/energy from her hands and then held me in her arms while I integrated the work she had done. The theme being developed seemed to be, simply put, the revitalization and re-mobilization of my physical being. Below is an image or map of how the events/dreams played out on the Tropical Zodiac.


The bike shorts purchase on the Equinox initially brought up some sadness and self-doubt. Would I ever feel well enough, strong enough and sturdy enough to bike again, or are those days over? Then the Gulf Oil Spill in April brought up nostalgia for the various times I have consciously and methodically organized my life and work so that I could be carless, getting most everywhere I needed to go by bike, bus and feet. Soon every time I saw bikers on the road or heard about friends’ biking trips, I began to feel somewhat jealous, remembering my own challenging and euphoric biking adventures from days gone by. Then when Memorial Day came around Alan and I wanted to visit a nearby lake but suspected the parking lot would be full. Our solution was to dust off our bikes, put them on a rack and drive to within a mile of the lake and bike the rest of the way. Lo and behold I was back on a bike; and with no serious hills to climb or descend, the short ride was easy enough and a whole world of fun. Moving along quietly through the open air … seeing, hearing and smelling everything I passed by reminded me of how much I had truly loved biking from an early age all the way up until I got Lyme at age 37. All my different bikes, bike routes and bike trips came back to me with a flood of appreciation and gratitude. Even the various wrecks I had survived seemed precious.

A few days later I biked the full three miles from my doorstep down the dreaded long, steep, narrow and windy road to the same lake. Getting over the fear of biking down the formidable hill for fear of falling or getting hit by an oncoming car was a milestone; but I avoided facing the fear and physical grind of biking UP the same hill by arranging for Alan to collect me and the bike at the lake’s trailhead. The next week, I put my bike on a car rack, drove down the hill, and went for a short, flat and pleasant ride around the streets of San Anselmo. It all felt immensely good … immensely positive. Still, I knew that my health was fragile and that I would not really be able to use my bike as a regular substitute for my gas-guzzler or for adventures beyond a few mile radius of my house or car any time soon. Then, while sitting at a stop sign in Alan’s car, I saw a young man cruising by at a decent clip on his bike with his feet resting on the frame. He was moving without pedaling and instantly a light bulb went on in my head. I could ride an electric bike up my hill and out and about Marin County without getting exhausted.

It was an epiphany that was soon almost crushed by test driving a few different E bikes at a San Rafael bike shop. I did not like the way the staff sent me out alone on the busy streets of San Rafael with just about no instructions; and I did not like the bikes I road. The experience left me stressed out and deflated … maybe this E bike thing was a bad idea. Returning home, I eyed the small and eccentric looking bike shop less than a mile from my house which I had never had a reason to go into since they had moved in. I went in to see if they per chance had any electric bicycles and within minutes I was on a beautiful bright orange E Mundo, floating (pedaling lightly) up my long, steep, narrow and winding road as if I had wings, accompanied by Michael Bock – a very knowledgeable E bike engineer – on his own E cargo bike. I had instantly fallen in love with the bike and with the bike shop, which I learned was a non-profit community center where anyone, regardless of financial means, could acquire or repair a bike. This wondrous place appeared, as if by magic, so close to my home with exactly what I needed and with exactly the right-spirited people to help me. After a few days of researching the E Mundo and other E bikes I went back to the shop on the Solstice to talk more about the components, batteries, maintenance, range and cost of the bike with store-owner Spokey and ended the conversation with the declaration, ‘I WANT ONE’.

Ever since my first test drive, I have been envisioning the E Mundo as being a vehicle that would literally carry me along in my journey towards greater health and wholeness. I knew getting out in nature more and out in my community more would be ‘good medicine’. But now that I have been riding the E Mundo  almost daily through the streets and hills of Marin for some two weeks, I am actually shocked by the extent of the bike’s therapeutic value for my physical and vital/emotional being. I can feel my entire system, being strengthened and re-wired to handle energy better. Yesterday I wrote a friend who is also a student of the 360° geometries and cycles of time and space (a la The Gnostic Circle):
[The bike has] come 4.5 years into my Lyme ordeal and brings with it unmistakable energies of both Mars and Jupiter… Force and Expansion. And it also has a coordinating and integrating effect on me, on all layers from Physical to Spiritual. So that has been delightful and encouraging that things really are shifting for the better. I definitely have a fear of falling and hurting myself or exacerbating my chronic Lyme symptoms and of the contraction that comes with such events, but I am careful and am moving through the fears which feels like a positive thing ... like breaking a Scorpionic spell or whammy on my physical/vital/mental being.   
In witnessing the state of world affairs, it is hard not to notice that most of the world population is also in need of being woken up from a Scorpionic spell or whammy and in need of serious rehabilitation via whatever re-education, re-creation or re-mobilization of resources. I have started Riding E Mundo blog only partly to document and express my own journey of becoming less dependent on petroleum and recuperating from Lyme. I am most interested in collaborating with and encouraging my community and world towards eliminating the demand of resources that are acquired via violence to the Earth and its creatures. We should truly be more careful – more full of care – in our steps on this Earth, and in our treatment of other beings. Whatever our rationales and excuses have been for choosing products, resources, business practices or economies that come at the expense of poisoning or exploiting ecosystems and people, we should, as individuals and as a group, consider making better choices.

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