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Finally - the perfect cycling companion
on 28 October 2012
Though it is a captivating read just for its descriptions of cycling through the Irish countryside in all weather, this book is at its best when it peels back "received" ideas about the value of cycling and tests them against the writer's own experience.
This testing the of ideal against the actual is a constant "itch that must be scratched" running through O'Doherty's writing -- it is what gives his viewpoint pieces such a recognizable force and focus -- and here he uses it to ask a simple question: "Why should I not find my own way to cycle that brings pleasure on my own terms?"
In O'Doherty's way of it, cycling is neither a sport nor or a mere mode of transport -- though he acknowledges the value of both conceptions -- but a third thing, on the face of it a simple pastime but one that can often, with the cresting of hill or the rounding of a bend, go much deeper, offering something like the experience of meditation, where the rewards don't come after the mastering of the lotus position but after the "hardening of the thighs."
In the telling of it, he reveals a philosophy that adds to his enjoyment of life, keeps his body fit, and lets his mind roam free -- all spoken with no malice to anyone else's reasons for going about on two wheels.