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What am I talking about when I talk about pedaling?


I am another who takes advantage of the charm of a title that has been paraphrased so many times. I think it’s from Raymond Carver, who used it in his story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” But it comes to mind because of Murakami, Haruki.

We know that the Japanese writer has a book dedicated to reviewing his life as a marathon runner and that it is titled more or less in this way. The construction of the phrase is musical and catchy. That’s why we keep paraphrasing it. Put me in the queue.

Murakami writes that when he runs he does not think of anything serious, and that those ideas or thoughts that come to him when he is on the road are nothing more than “accessories of the void.”

I dont run. I have never run too much except when in Cuba a bus escaped from me after having been “hunting” it for long and endless hours. Such circumstances did not leave much time for thought.

A day of pedaling, coming out of winter.

Running is not the exercise I prefer. Not even jogging. My body does not accommodate those jumps. My asthmatic lungs never accompanied me for long or short distances. Not even when I was so skinny that a not too big hand was left over to measure the width of my chest.

Instead, pedaling, man that’s something else! Maybe swimming is similar to it, but for now, the experience on two wheels has been very rewarding after many years. I say after many years because before, as for many, the bicycle was also for me only a means of transportation.

Or rather, sometimes it was only a true condemnation. It will still be for someone, but I insist on my before, on my “absent thing” and on my “perceived thing”, on those of my memories.

From when, for example, the vehicle in possession was unchanged and sometimes a hill as steep as the Himalayas (which, after all, is one of the most frequently cited mountains) awaited me because I had to go to a field in search of bananas, mangoes or sweet potatoes.

In those days, the camera on my bicycle surprised every week with holes that a friend, a neighbor like me from one of the most “cache” neighborhoods in the city, where he was a punch bowler, patched up.

She visited him so frequently that the day one of the chambers died she had to honor her as if she had been a war hero, and that she was; by her scars, by the way in which she had faced that inflate and deflate, those constant tortures immersed in the water only to reveal the new open pore, and she was serene.

I no longer live those martyrdoms. Now I am like the yogi attained Samadhi. Pedaling is my moment of meditation: keeping a constant rhythm, constant breathing and watching the city go by slowly or quickly works as an incentive for my memory. It is as if a radar was activated or I was a fishing boat and I released my immense net in which I usually entangle all kinds of things.

It happens to me like that character from Rubem Fonseca, the one who walked under the belief that by doing so he thought better, that by going from one side of the city to the other he found solutions to his problems: “Solvitur ambulando”.

It’s not that now every time I have a certain conflict I grab the bike and go anywhere, it’s that wherever I move on it, ideas come out like in a Pokémon game. At that point, I see myself as having to stop my pace from 11 to 16 kilometers per hour, take out my phone and record whatever.

One does not aspire to be a professional cyclist or to hoard a large number of ideas to become rich, at this point I only intend to maintain a certain lucidity, a healthy physical state and leave certain experiences in my son that will not be forgotten.

By the southern bike path

And thanks to some applications on my phone I see that this year with the kilometers I have covered I could have reached Belo Horizonte, and I almost reached La Paz. For Havana, no; I have “a lot with too much”, as a relative said.

I hope that the kilometers accumulated this year are not like those points that one accumulates in certain supermarkets. I expected with them to add up to completing a flight anywhere, as the advertisement had promised.

And one day, very optimistic and hopeful, I ask the cashier how I was doing with my savings score in four years, and look, the girl answers me: “No, chabón, if every January first this is renewed again.”

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