The bike is a wonderful machine: it lets you explore more terrain than you can on foot on a given day, yet it is still a humane technology connecting your body and senses to nature in ways not really possible with an automobile.
The Friday Cyclotouriste’s five principles:
- Ride for the joy of riding.
- Never pedal out of vanity, in relation to other bikers or cars (see also Velocio’s seventh commandment).* Be humble.
- Add fenders, lights, racks, and a kickstand to your bike, if practical.
- Use the bike as a way to enjoy food and drink out-of-doors.
- Ride the type of bike (and wear the kind of clothing) most suitable or comfortable for the task at hand.
Paul de Vivie’s (aka Velocio’s) Seven Commandments for the Cyclist (found in this article on the BC Randonneurs site)
- Keep your rests short and infrequent to maintain your rhythm.
- Eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty.
- Never ride to the point of exhaustion where you can’t eat or sleep.
- Cover up before you are cold, peel off before you are hot.
- Don’t drink, smoke, or eat meat on tour.
- Never force the pace, especially during the first hours.
- Never ride just for the sake of riding*
*Many are puzzled by this commandment and prefer what is said to be an alternate translation “Never pedal out of vanity, don’t be a show-off” (from the RUSA website).
While the second translation is less enigmatic, I have come to peace with the first translation. Setting an explicit goal (that is “never ride just for the sake of riding”) is a valid bicycling ethos quite necessary for accomplishing the impressive long-distance rides for which Velocio and his cyclotouriste disciples were famous.