Long Distance Cyclists Ahead of the Curve
Did you know that every participant on our cycling tours is a pioneer? In a recent article in Fast Magazine’s Co.Exist newsletter titled “Stop accumulating stuff and start accumulating experiences”, author James Wallman discusses an age-old problem – how you should live in order to be happy? (spoiler alert – he concludes Aristotle would have been a cyclist)
He begins by discussing happiness in the Age of Anti-Materialism (the past 2 millennia ) and then goes on to explain the paradox of happiness and the consumption ideology that has held America and much of the rest for the world in its thrall for over a century. This has resulted in what he terms stuffocation – “an anxiety brought on from having too many material goods, nowhere to put them, and the sense that this has become a systemic problem–today“. He concludes his article by discussing happiness brought about by experientialism. If you join the experiantialists he writes, “you’ll not only be happier, have more status, and a greater sense of who you are, you’ll also be one of the pioneers, leading the rest of society along the straightest, most aspirational, most fun road out of the storm of Stuffocation. You’ll be leading America and the rest of the world from the old age of materialism to the new era of experientialism.”
I am not sure how many long distance riders have heard of stuffocation or experientalism but when you decide to cycle a continent, you know damn well that you are not getting richer (unless you have one hell of an investment manager), that you will not be doing much ‘stuffocating’ and that you are pretty much guaranteed to have plenty of adventures and experiences – in Wallman’s words, experientialism.
So there you are. You may have never thought of yourself as a pioneer but simply as someone who loves cycling, adventure, the outdoors, good food, great company and the basic things in life like a cold beer after a great ride. Now, lo and behold, it turns out you are a experiential pioneer – leading the rest of the society into a brave new future.
Frankly, this is a heavy load for us poor cyclists. I mean, our panniers are so small that we usually hardly have room for more than one change of clothes. Besides we have plenty to worry about. Things like pedaling over 100 km day in and day out, crazy drivers, bad roads & wild animals. And now we face the grave responsibilities that come with being leaders? What next, investigations into our personal relationships? The masses, after all, need to know about the behavior of their leaders!
Fight Stuffocation! Cycle the 7EPICS.