Friday, February 03, 2012


The theme, if there was one, in honor of the day—Groundhog—and the classic film it inspired, (arguably, the greatest cinematic achievement ever, and certainly, Bill Murray’s finest hour) was doing the same thing over and over until you get it right.

And, as Joeball pointed out earlier in the day, the bike gang is pretty much like the movie: people, places, and events recur again and again, slightly differently, but essentially similar. You can almost predict what’s going to unfold, but then there’s a twist.

The Angry Hippie has a flat, for instance, but repairs it with nary an Anglo-Saxon epithet and unkibbitzed at by the typical peanut gallery.

Or we wend our way, as usual, to (a newly-refurbished!) Hop In grocery, but through fancy neighborhoods on steep surface streets never once taken before.

Or, there’s a route through the woods to what I’m pretty sure was my first Point83 swimming hole half a decade ago, but this time, no one goes in the water and the University Police never even show up to shoo us away.

There’s a scene in Groundhog Day where Phil Conners laments the day he’s been condemned to repeat: “I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters. That was a pretty good day,” he says, “Why couldn’t I get that day over and over and over.”

And although the dozens of Thursday night bike rides I’ve taken part in over the years have never once (thankfully) featured any of Phil’s sea otter hijinks, I don’t lament for a moment the continual sense of déjà vu all over again.

In Nietzsche’s writings we encounter the idea of eternal recurrence: Ask yourself what life would you live if you had to live this life over and over again for all eternity?

I don’t know the answer, but I’m sure there’d be ride bikes on Thursdays.


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