Ernest Hemingway loved to ride a bike. He especially loved riding around the byways of France, and usually with his wife. He also attended road races and other bicycle events, and mentioned some of them in his writings.
As so many prepare to pick up the bike again for a great ride this time of the year, most especially my wife, I thought it would be a great time to share this prose. It is a great example to non-Hemingway addicts just how good his writing is. You are on the bike, riding along-side, feeling the breeze. He writes the details in a way that -- somehow -- keeps you transfixed and in the moment and left with the experience as if you had just gotten off your bike, instead of just finished a paragraph.
That is how pretty much all of his writing is. Like I say, you do not have to do the same things Hemingway did, all you have to do is read his books. It is the same thing.
And now, from "The Garden of Eden" Chapter Fifteen:
"On the shiny black road that mounted through the pines as he left the hotel he felt the pull in his arms and his shoulders and the rounding thrust of his feet against the pedals as he climbed in the hot sun with the smell of the pines and the light breeze that came from the sea. He bent his back forward and pulled lightly against his hands and felt the cadence that been ragged as he first mounted begin to smooth out as he passed the hundred-meter stones and then the first red-topped kilometer marker and then the second. At the headland the road dipped to border the sea and he braked and dismounted and put the bicycle over his shoulder and walked down with it along the trail to the beach. He propped it against a pine tree that gave off the resin smell of the hot day ...
"He dressed, still wet from the sea and put his cap in his pocket, then climbed up to the road with his bicycle and mounted, driving the machine up the short hill feeling the lack of training in his thighs as he presses the balls of his feet on the pedals with the steady climbing thrust that carried him up the black road as though he and the racing bike were some wheeled animal. Then he coasted down, his hands fingering the brakes, taking the curves fast, dropping down the shiny dark road through the pines, to the turnoff at the back court of the hotel where the sea shone summer blue beyond the trees."
Notice how the last sentence slows you down with the bike, using commas to slow the cadence and speed of your reading down, then giving you that last literary swoosh at the end before you stop, just like when you stop on a bike-ride at the end.
Notice how he does not say he is on a bike or even mention one until near the end of the first paragraph, another example of the Hemingway style. You know you are on it because, hey, you are riding something that could only be a bike. He puts you in the seat, instead of telling you what it is like to be in the seat.
Did you feel it? Did you smell the pines, feel the sun on your face, and feel the sea breezes waft by as your muscles worked the bike? Were you in the moment? Reading Hemingway is very Zen.
You just rode a bike in the South of France, along the Mediterranean Sea, in a small village, near Nice -- and you rode it with Ernest Hemingway.