Life Cycles

Synopsis: Story of the bike, from its creation to its demise.
47 min

Life is a river.

That's what grandad

always used to say.

A beginning, an end,

a million different ways in between.

He used to metaphore my whole life,

how it'd end and float,

following the path of least resistance,

barreling straight through the impossible.

Clear as air and black as night.

And no matter what direction

or how it'd move or what it'd look like,

the point according to grandad,

was that the river always moved forward.

What kept him running the rabbits

until he was old and grey?

The mystery of

what lay around the bend.

These days that mystery is hard to find.

The river is distant

and sky clouded with concrete.

For many of us, life's great adventure,

all its beauty, all its connection sails by unnoticed.

Funny thing is the river's never that far off.

This is the story of a way back in.

To the rush of moving forward.

Born from the earth's crust.

Grown from the seeds of innovation.

Forged in the fires of industry.

The Earth's most efficient machine

creates its most efficient animal...

The bicycle,

our noblest invention.

Trails like the seasons come and go.

Built on a foundation of diversity,

beauty, classic elegance.

Never quite repeating themselves.

A marvel made of beginnings and endings,

with a million different ways in between.

Grandad was all about those connections.

He had his hands in Earth

as much as he did in machines.

Maybe that's why

he understood both sides...

Sure we till and cut,

we reap and we sow...

And yeah, we do great damage.

But we're also capable of great good.

After all, no matter how smart

we think we are,

we're just another part of the mystery.

"Balance a bike right."

"Keep the pedals turning."

"Forget about everything except right now."

"And there's no place you can't ride."

That's what grandad used to say.

I once read that life

is an act of suicide.

And it's true.

We're probably the only creatures

on the planet who know this.

Maybe that's why we're

so good at killing.

"It's going to die anyway,

might as well have it for ourselves."

So we take, we take some more.

But in the process we kill

other less tangible entities.

Things like flow, joy,

interaction, purpose.

Another way though the world is lost.

Not by one particular person...

but by instinct, survival,

the very chaos of life itself.

We spend hours thinking,

designing, questioning.

Also you can spend a few seconds

lost in one moment.

No time to think, just reaction.


All the worry and the want

washed away by the rush.

When it comes to trance,

when the builder puts down

the shovel and picks up the bike,

when creation overrides destruction...

well, that's living.

I still remember my first bike.

Perfect little banana seater with big chopper

handlebars in sparkling blue paint.

Bright memories came

on that miracle of ingenuity.

Cruising down the sidewalk, feeling big,

even though I was only seven.

In a second the world grew exponentially.

We found secret back alleys,

jumps a whole four blocks away.

We'd crash,

get giant scrapes down our arms,

race to the corner store

as fast as we could,

candy spilling out of our pockets

like stolen gold.

With every ride, every new adventure

the chrome would fade.

The rust would creep into the paint.

Other kids would show up with newer bikes.

My best friend Jimmy got a BMX

with treaded tires, no fenders.

He could jump that thing

like nobody's business.

Then we found a trail

and the world changed again.

We'd find ourselves deep in the forest,

riding off the routes,

dropping into gullies,

caught in the rain.

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    "Life Cycles" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Apr. 2021. <>.

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