Lately, I’ve taken to biking as my go to form of exercise.
The process of getting a bike was actually a long and well-pondered out one. Weeks, if not months of back and forth with myself thinking about the type of bike I want that’d fit my cost considerations. And after multiple trips to several LBSs and megabytes of bandwidth burned on bike websites, I finally settled on one.
Ain’t she a beaut?
Now that I have a bike, the next step is to get my money’s worth and actually ride it out. But it really isn’t as simple as it sounds. Having last ridden a bike some twenty or so years ago, the process of relearning how to ride may take a bit of time.
So yes, I’ve been riding around the village the past couple of days, getting on some needed mileage while trying to develop some basic skills. Like say, how to ride in a straight line. (The first time I rode, I wanted to turn from one street into the next and somehow found myself getting up the sidewalk after my attempt. Not exactly how I wanted that to pan out.) Shifting gears was also a pain, having to constantly remember that downhill doesn’t equate to downshift.
I’m glad to say though, that after days of practicing, I think I’m finally nailing it. Apart from the occasional mistake, I think am developing the muscle memory needed to make gear shifting second nature. Am also establishing some personal tricks, such as slightly standing up on speed bumps to compensate for my bicycle’s lack of a full suspension.
There are still some things left to conquer though. There’s this hill at the end of our street where I need to get over before I can pretty much go anywhere. I wouldn’t say that it’s too steep, but since I haven’t gotten my technique down pat, that place has been constantly giving me a hard time. The first time I tried to attack the hill, I pedaled as fast as I could, made the mistake of shifting to a harder gear when I should have chosen an easier one midway, and consumed all my water at the top while my heart was pounding. The second time, I was thinking about maintaining cadence while riding up when from out of nowhere a car went past by me causing me to lose my balance. As a result, I had to walk the rest of the way up with my bike while early morning joggers were staring. Dyahe sobra.
I’d like to say I’m improving (and I’m pretty sure I am), but still a long way to go. I’ve been biking on the easy part of the village, and hopefully, I’d like to take myself to parts with harder climbs and funner descents. With time though, I’m sure it’ll come.
A few days ago, My Bloody Valentine released m b v, their first album in 22 years and the follow up to their seminal record Loveless. Subsequently, it broke the internet.
I got into My Bloody Valentine not 22 years ago (Andrew E. ruled then), but some time closer to today. It was probably in ’04, when my quest for music and discovery of internet downloads connived with each other which led me to discover Loveless*. I wouldn’t say it is something that I hadn’t heard before (Siamese Dream, for one, was heavily influenced by it) but it was amazing to listen to how a musical style got born. Loveless was shoegaze even before shoegaze was a word.
Over the years, I’ve come to put Loveless in such high regard, that I even irrationally refused to listen to its predecessor Isn’t Anything out of fear that I’d be tainting the former’s legacy. It was only this year that I listened to Isn’t Anything, when news of a new album this year surfaced. I figured, listening to another My Bloody Valentine record had to be inevitable diba?
With that logic, yes, you can say that I was afraid of listening to m b v as well. But along with the excitement of the internet, there I was, gamely pressing F5 on the band’s website in hopes of seeing the 403 error go away.
But that didn’t work. Luckily, torrent did. And much to my relief, I soon discovered, that m b v is this insanely great album, worthy of classic status. Listening to this is akin to a religious experience, one can get lost as easily as one can get found. The one regret I do have is that I wished I got into MBV sooner so I could’ve been there along with everyone during the 22 year wait.
So thank you, Kevin Shields. Thank you, My Bloody Valentine.
Your move, Neutral Milk Hotel.
* Wanted to write about m b v without bringing up Loveless, but you do know that it’s an impossible feat, don’t you?