“Will Self on Cycling” by Matt Thomas

“Will Self on Cycling” by Matt Thomas


To me, the two purest inventions of the last century and a half are the bicycle and the typewriter Both are inert lumps of metal
until you add in human power and then they become
capable of generating in the one case, astonishing
and fluid movement and hopefully, in the case
of the other one beautiful and fluid prose I think probably my ideal state of being
would be to cycle through the city typing on a typewriter
welded into the handlebars of my bicycle That’s not really possible though, is it? Nonetheless, there is a kind of incredible
sense of ease and grace, really particularly cycling through a sort of
busy city full of snarled-up traffic You know, it’s perhaps unpleasant to talk
in terms of the intense feeling of schadenfreude one has as a cyclist
when one is passed by a gas-guzzling twonk in some kind of badge car on Park Lane You know, whooshes past
and nearly sends you spinning into the gutter, only for you
to then zip past him half a mile down the road
and then stay ahead of him possibly all across the city That’s a great, great feeling
and it shows you that the human spirit and human muscle
and sinew can triumph in relatively quotidian situations You don’t need a glorified festival
of running and jumping to be put on for you on Stratford Marsh
in order to feel like an Olympian

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