Book Trailer The Noble Train

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Novel Biker and other Writing Rituals

I am a novel biker. I ride fifteen miles a day weather permitting otherwise I am on the trainer. I ride alone. I write alone. There is a connection. When I first started writing I found out that jogging changed my brain chemistry to the point I could write much better after running. I didn't start jogging because of that. I just jogged and then I wrote. But I never stopped. My ritual became jogging and writing. Four novels later and a move to the edge of the country in a far west suburb of Chicago killed jogging. Too many cornfields. Too many open roads. I saw dudes on bikes.

Strange guys with martian helmets out on lonely roads. They intrigued me. I had an old Trek Mountain bike. It weighed about a hundred pounds. I started out on a road headed for the cornfields. I had on no biking clothes. Just an old hat and shorts and a T shirt. I nearly died. I realized then that I had no endurance. I made it to an old farm and hung on to a fence. I was like an old woman barely moving. My cadence was so slow I looked like someone who had taken Valium. This scene made it into Rocket Man, "I hung on waiting for a heart attack...years of bad food had taken it's toll." Yeah, I know, I was out of shape.

So I limped back but right then I gave up jogging. I had found a new sport. So everyday I went back to my farm and returned home. I didn't get a new bike until I had ground my old bike down to a commuter bike. I found the Great Western Trail, an old railroad line that used to be an old Stage Coach line. It shoots straight out into the country across old bridges and is limestone path into old America. Literally there are dead Prairie towns along the path. A perfect place for the lone rider. I started riding early in the morning. I got a new bike. A Trek Hybrid that still weighed a thousand pounds. But it was faster and tough. I began to shed my civilian gear.

I bought a helmet. No more salt crusted hats. I bought some gloves when I couldn't shift from sweat. I bought a shirt after I had run through T shirts that ended up drying in my bathroom on the towel rack. I bought biking shorts after my ass got sore. I got shoes with toe clips then with slots to click onto my pedals for more thrust. I went through water bottles then found the Camel Back, a backpack of water. I bought a fifty psi air horn. Then I bought biking shades after losing and breaking gas station shades for years. I went up to fifteen miles a day. I bought a trainer for the winter months. I started counting the months I could bike I became the novel biker, thinking of my next scene while shooting through the countryside at dawn.

We all have our rituals for writing.  Mine is riding like a demon through the dew tipped countryside. When I hit a real problem with a book I just mutter to myself: time to go biking.  Then I'm gone.

Books by William Hazelgrove