Monday, July 21, 2014

"One voluptuous delight at a time"

Read Paul Fournel's Need for the Bike last night in one sitting - a gift from my dear friend T.. I loved it - highly recommended.

Here is a representative bit - Fournel is an Oulipo member as well as an avid lifelong cyclist, it is a perfect combination of style and topic (the translator is Allan Stoekl - it's a beautiful little book from the University of Nebraska Press):
For the cyclist there are two types of meals and two types of appetite: during and after.

During the effort, eating is a complex problem. One has to indulge in things that are high-calorie, light, quickly chewed, quickly swallowed, quickly digested. 'Eat before getting hungry,' Paul de Vivie advised, and he was right.

Wanting to do the right thing, and certainly guided by the memory of the contents of the old-time racers' musette bags, riders often set off with a chicken drumstick, a gooey-fruited tart, a leftover bit of steak, a ham sandwich, just to make sure they're not hungry at dinnertime. Hunger exists, but effort conceals it, and the prospect of swallowing a chicken thigh while pedaling up an inviting false flat is enough to make you heave.

There are yet deeper mysteries. I can't think of anything better than chocolate. I eat it upon getting up in the morning and every time I come across it during the day. I like it dark, dry, and hard. But I've never been able to eat a bit of it on the bike. The bike eliminates my taste for chocolate by turning it into a sticky, nauseating goo. No doubt I should see this as a nice lesson in the nonconcurrence of pleasures. One voluptuous delight at a time.

The effect of marzipan is the opposite; I don't like it, but on a bike it's a blessing.

The mounted cyclist is a different person.

1 comment:

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