The Vulnerability and the Bike


Biking is raw. It’s just you, the bike, and the road. Getting around requires nothing more than your own strength. There is no protection, no windshield, no roof, and no doors. You are fully exposed. Along with the sense of freedom this may bring, there is also something very vulnerable about it. 

On the bike we are exposed to the elements, the traffic, the pedestrians, and even the critters crossing the street. At red lights our feet are literally on the concrete amongst the tires. As I stood at a few red lights this evening I took note of everything around me. I noticed the beard of the pedi cab driver. I noticed a photographer snapping a picture of me as I stood with my bike. I even had a brief conversation with a man rollerblading next to me. All of this occurred because of my exposure to the world. Unlike a car, there are no windows to tint or no stereo to turn up. I wouldn’t have experienced these events if it wasn’t for my vulnerability.

I think it can be difficult to allow someone inside your being, to be vulnerable. Sharing how you really feel can be hard. We want to protect ourselves with whatever method possible. However, riding our bike is an alternative to that. Without words and conversation, it opens us up. It provides a channel of expression. I think the vulnerability derives from the fact that the bike is so raw. You are exposed, and although you have control of your bike and your person, you do not have control over the stimuli around you. Naturally, this inevitable lack of control over our surroundings puts us at their mercy sometimes. That is the vulnerability of the bike.

Like everything in life a balance is required. Being too vulnerable can lead to hurt and devastation. Not being vulnerable at all can lead to loneliness and solitude. Being just vulnerable enough can foster beautiful and productive relationships. I really feel that the bike is the perfect representation of that balance. We can expose ourselves and open up, but we can also pedal faster and cruise if we are feeling too vulnerable.

So try it, ride, open up, and become vulnerable.


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