Hello again, dear blog friends and followers. I apologize for the extended break – but here I am back.
I have excellent stories and photos to post of my birthday weekend, which I’ll write about soon, but today I have for you a rejected guest post. The Fat Cyclist put out a call for guest posts that he could use while traveling to Africa to hand out donated bicycles with World Bicycle Relief. Although I didn’t see the post until several days after it had gone up, I was immediately excited – his two requested themes were “Why I Started Riding” or “How I Got Someone Else to Start Riding” – and I was sure that Jonathan could write an excellent guide on the second theme, as he’d just done … something … to me and John – but he didn’t want to, so what could I do but write his post myself?
Unfortunately, it was not one of the chosen few, so I’m left to wonder. Did I send it in too late? Was he looking for a more serious story, and less humor? Does he hate The Great Gatsby?
Did he just … not like it?
Either way, I liked it, so although it was rejected before (and perhaps I should have learned my lesson then) I’m going to inflict it upon you. Read at your own risk.
How I Got Someone Else to Start Riding: A Surefire Three-Pronged Method of Attack.
Note: I’m writing this on behalf of my brother Jonathan, whose sure-fire, guaranteed method this is; I know for a fact that it is irresistible, having recently fallen victim to it myself. I’m submitting it for him because he is much too modest to brag about himself, but I feel it my duty in life as his older sister to brag for him – even about his dastardly (and admittedly excellent) plots against me.
Note 2: Obviously I must write this from Jonathan’s perspective, not mine. The story of the nefarious mastermind is always better than that of the hapless quarry.
Note 3: While this method is 100% guaranteed, it’s not to be used by the faint-hearted or weak-willed. If you wish to succeed, prepare for years of struggle before your desired cycling conversion is achieved.
Summary: This is a three-pronged attack to be carried out against Potential Cyclist Target (hereafter refered to as “Target”) over the course of 3-10 years, depending on which sport you intend to use to execute Prong 1, and how proficient you are at it at the time you begin the Attack.
1) Become Olympic medalist; shame Target into feeling bad about his or her athletic disinclination. Being an Olympic winner will slowly eat away at Target’s resistance in two ways:
a. Every time you walk into a room, each of Target’s extra pounds of fat magically multiply by ten; he or she begins to feel sorry about his or her flabby un-fitness. Each of his or her “healthful” life choices (diet- and exercise-related) that he or she was previously happy with is instantly begrimed with a film of mediocrity.
b. Every time someone else finds out who Target’s brother/brother-in-law is, he or she has to endure the never-ending questions. “Are you a skater too? Do you run? Do you do anything? Oh… So you just sit on your futon and eat ice cream cones? I see…”
2) Talk to Target as if there is no other option than for him or her to become a cyclist. “Ah, you’re moving to Austin for school – you will soon be a cyclist!” “Ah, you are moving to the Portland area – I’m so glad to hear you’ll be getting into cycling. Will you begin riding this fall, or wait until the weather’s better in the spring?” Act as if target’s imminent cycling habit is a foregone conclusion. Continue this course regardless of any resistance or denials; the key here is never to acknowledge that Target may not become a cyclist. After several years of a sustained verbal attack, begin to choose cycling-related gifts for Target, like a bike computer, a winter cycling cap, or a copy of Comedian Mastermind.
(The lay cyclist-converter may believe that, although fine and entertaining literature, Comedian Mastermind may not be the best gift for a Potential Cyclist Target as the stories of injuries, falls, and foul smelling clothing may be a turn-off; this is an amateur
mistake. Reading the book is just another way for him or her to believe that he or she is already part of the cycling community, and with a skillful execution of Prong 3, the worrisome parts will be erased from the Target’s memory.)
3) When the time is right and prongs 1 and 2 have done their insidious jobs, use subtle application of hypnosis, brainwashing, and/or “extras” slipped into Target’s morning coffee.
Jonathan would have to elaborate on this one further for you; I don’t know what he did to us exactly, but I do know that up until mid-April, we had many excellent reasons not to get into cycling as our regular form of exercise. Then he came to visit, staying with us for a long weekend, and three days after he left our home I woke up in the morning absolutely knowing that riding bikes was the answer to all our dilemmas.
What had my husband and I been looking for? A new activity that we could both do (yes!), together and with our dog (yes, and yes, as long as John tows Max in a trailer – a double benefit, since when he’s handicapped, I can sort of keep up) – and that we can do near our home, and that’s fun – and now that he’s out of grad school and has a “real” job, we can afford? Yes!
Yes, yes, yes!
And I couldn’t even remember what our previous objections had been.
The timing is just too precise for it to have been a coincidence.
Two days later, John and I bought a trailer for our dog, and have somehow, for some reason, hopped on our bikes almost every morning since. And somehow, each weekend, the rides are becoming longer and longer – so we spin on, cyclists against the wind, borne on ceaselessly into the past.
Note 4: I emailed this to Jonathan earlier to check the details with him. His response was about Prong 1: “I never … meant to do it.” That statement in itself is as good as fully admitting to premeditation of the entire scheme. Nobody just somehow gets to the Olympics “by accident” – and I sure didn’t hear a refutal of prongs 2 or 3 there.