Heather L Reid, ‘My life as a two-wheeled philosopher’. Chapter 15 in Cycling: Philosophy for everyone (2010) edited by Jesus Ilundain-Agurruza and Michael Austin, Chichester Wiley-Blackwell.
Heather Reid is an academic philosopher who was once a competition road cyclist in the USA and UK. In this chapter she reflects on her experience in the 1984 USA Olympic track sprint trials. Unfortunately, she failed to make the US team, but she uses the chapter to explain how this losing experience taught her much about cycling, philosophy and life.
She claims that both cycling and life are, ‘by nature rooted in uncertainty’ and that cycling is in fact a form of philosophy. I am sorry, but at best I find this idea unconvincing and at worst, it’s just plain daft.
She goes on to say that struggling to improve as a cyclist, staying true to yourself, staying clean (away from drugs) and learning to enjoy the struggle a bike race or run involves, is a virtue of itself – whether or not you ever achieve what you set out to do.
Well, I guess, that is something we can all agree with.