Great reflection on the “man with the hammer” by Jack Holroyde from www.cyclingshorts.uk.com
Jack, when will we ride together?
“I may get taken as a masochist, but I welcome the visit from the man with the hammer at 5am.
He’s like the strict teacher that everyone in the school fears, but when you get to his class, you realise that he just doesn’t fuck around, he wants to help you better yourself and is usually kind, thoughtful and respectful – and punishment is fair and justified.
‘The Man’s’ lesson is the point at which we learn that self will can, and will, fail us.
We’re taught in life to fight, to overcome obstacles, to tread on toes and to steamroller problems.
You’re strong, we’re told. But you can be better. Push harder. Just do it.
We’re then given a million problems that one can only ‘defeat’ with the advertised product and as a result, we become weak, burdened by problems that are not ours, pain that does not exist.
We incorporate this into our daily lives and strive to overcome these problems every day. Bigger house, more pointless shit to put in it. Magazines, Trainers, even children. The latest habitat coffee table, hand crafted in India from the armpit hair of a dolphin.
However, the simple reality is that these behaviours are little more than our self will desperately trying to stamp itself on the world.
After 60km of riding a bike, these thoughts of madness generally fade. The body is undertaking too much to bother wasting energy thinking. This is a good thing.
However, we are still living our entire lives powered by ‘ourselves’. But when ‘the Man’ comes for us, that all changes.
I remember the first time I met him like it was yesterday. It was the first London to Brighton I did at Ditchling beacon and I got off my bike and cried like a child.
I couldn’t go on. What I didn’t know what that this ‘Beware Horses’ sign marked the end of the climb, but I was so buried in self pity that
I couldn’t look up and see the crest of the hill.
The man taught me something that day – that self will can and must be torn down and replaced by something that has power.
Through the medium of my bicycle I set about reinventing my life, being the person I wanted to be, not the person I was told to be.
The Man showed me my God.
I hope that he will show you yours.
When he comes, *if he comes*, welcome him with open arms.
Illustration by Rocco