I already have this so I can sweat without getting anywhere. Â Now how about the other way around?
During lunch break today I went to the local bicycle shop and looked for an electric bike. Â By this I mean an ordinary bicycle with electrical assist. Â They don’t require any special license or anything such, as their maximum speed is no larger than an ordinary bike, and their size, weight, steering and brakes are within normal range as well. Â (Though they tend to be a little heavier than modern non-motorized bikes.) The main difference is simply that you can pedal comfortably up long hills rather than sweat and pant like an animal. Â Seeing how the main challenge to biking to and from the city are exactly the excessively long hill slopes both ways, this sounds suspiciously ideal. Â Well, actually the bus is far more ideal most of the year, if you don’t get swine flu on it. Â But that is pretty optimistic, I’m afraid.
Anyway, the bike costs NOK 20 000, or approximately $3 200. Â I think that is pretty steep, even if it includes the infamous 25% sales tax we have in Scandinavia. I happen to have that kind of cash floating around at the moment, but unlike most of my expenses, I would notice this one. Â My income is pretty meager by Norwegian standards, I do this well because my expenses are pretty moderate too. Â I generally don’t have a lot of things I want. Â I am not sure how much I want this either. Â It’s more like “it’s better than swine flu”, but I suppose even that depends on how severe the flu is.
Electric bikes is also another of those products I might buy in part because I want them to exist in the future. Â But I would rather like them to be cheaper in that future.
Speaking of bikes, I guess there is a certain symmetry in having a bike that takes me places without sweating, since I already have one that makes me sweat without going anywhere. I am talking about my stationary bike, of course. Â I was using it a bit today too, and that’s a story in itself. Â It started before I even came to the house. Â Out by the road, I picked up today’s mail, yet another letter from Centerpointe Research Institute. They were, as so often, trying to sell a friend’s product, in this case a supposedly supercharged version of qigong. It can treat all kinds of illnesses, such as cancer, by removing energy blockages in the body, they say. Â There are of course several paragraphs in there about how one must avoid the words “diagnose”, “treat” etc because it is Not A Medical Treatment (despite all the people whose cancer and heart conditions disappeared as if by magic). Heh.
Not that there is anything wrong with qigong, probably. Â It is a combination of breathing techniques and stretching exercises, similar to tai chi but slower and gentler and accompanied by mental imagery (visualization). Â I like to think of tai chi as a love child of martial arts and meditation, and qigong as a love child of tai chi and meditation… wait, that’s just wrong! Uhm, let us just assume it was another meditation. Â Anyway! Qi (known in Japanese as Ki) is a kind of life force that flows through the body keeping it alive. Or so most Asians believe. Â This flow through a network of meridians is also the basis for acupuncture and acupressure. Â Western medicine knows that stimulating nerves in one part of the body can have effects in a different part of the body, and we assume that this is how the theory of qi originated.
Anyway! The brochure contained a small demonstration exercise that I tried, but did not practice for long. Â I may include something similar in The Teacher Appears (yes, I have decided in favor of that name now) but it just felt wrong for me, because of its focus on the breath. Â Because of my childhood asthma, I prefer to think as little as possible about my breathing for the most part. If it works, don’t fix it! Â Because it did not always work.
Despite my supposed “Lassie-fair” (pardon my French*) attitude to breathing, I actually found myself breathing strangely now and then while biking on my exercise bike later. Â It has its own pulse meter, and quite precise too. Â I found that breathing deeply in and then slowly out caused my pulse to go way down when I was biking on a fairly easy level. Â Then I biked it back up and did it again. It was kind of fascinating, but creepy. Â I really should not mess with my heart, even less than with my breathing. Â The body knows a lot better than I do what my heart rate should be. Â (It is generally quite a bit lower than what is common for my age, but it does not seem to lead to any symptoms.) Â When I took a walk after the indoors biking, I found myself doing the strange breathing thing again and felt very uncomfortable. Â I went back home and played Sims 3 until I had forgotten the weirdness. Â And then it was already this late.
(*By the way, laissez-faire is not actually spelled “Lassie-fair”, but searching for that phrase on Google will reveal a good number of people with very strong opinions on economics. Sometimes Google is stranger than fiction.)