Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Eschatological bicycling

First a bit of background...since moving to Grand Marais, I don't need to ride my bike to work anymore—I work out of my house. So, I put the road bike on a trainer (a magnetic one that I've had for over 12 years) and ride it 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes.

Last week, while riding, I got to thinking about riding styles. I generally spend most of my time "on the hoods." That's a fancy way of saying that my hands rest on the top of the brake levers. The brake levers on newer bikes are covered with a softer rubber piece that is called a hood. I also try to spend about 30% of the time "in the drops," a fancy way of saying on the lower section of the handlebars. The drops are a good place to ride if you are fighting a headwind, but it also takes a bit of getting used to, so I practice in the winter. It really does take a bit of getting used to...generally after about 1-2 minutes, I want to change positions, but I stay there anyway.

But, getting back to riding on the hoods. I was musing on what an philologist 2,000 to 3,000 years from now would think if they ran across that phrase. What definition for "hood" would they use? There's the hood of a car, but there is also the slang term 'hood for neighborhood. What if that was the only context they had for the word?

Imagine reading about someone riding their bike "on the hoods." I've been editing a book about Persian power and it's deconstruction in the Psalms, so that turn of mind entered into my thoughts. Someone can't literally ride "on the hoods" if the hoods are neighborhoods, so obviously something else is going on. Could it be they meant "in the hoods"? or maybe "through the hoods"? I can see a whole new school of thought growing out of this debate. : )

But what if we take "on the hoods" as a symbolic phrase? It must mean that they see themselves as somehow superior to, or conquering the neighborhoods—rising above their circumstances. Maybe they are making a theological statement of what will happen in the future! Maybe...well, you get the idea.

Maybe it helps if you have read The Motel of the Mysteries! Maybe you just had to be there. Maybe I'm just nuts!

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