Why I ride
Last week we ended on a bit of a downer, so let’s start this one-off on a more positive note.
It’s going to be an easy one too. Quite simply, it’s why I ride. Why it captured my interest in the first place and why it has only become more attractive as time passes.
I think that everyone starts at the same place. Assuming you first got on a bike as a young child (or even if you didn’t), the bike introduced you to a new level of freedom and exhilaration. When I started riding more seriously as a teenager, I’d have to say that the underlying reason I spent so much time on the bike was because it was simply something my best friend and I enjoyed, but more than that it was something that we did that was a platform for simply enjoying each others company. I’ll spare you all the clichés, but cycling appeal to people on a basic and profound level, when you think about it.
Actually, when I think about it, there are people who aren’t bothered about cycling. Couldn’t care less. I think we cyclists forget that this is the reality, and that no matter how much you think something is the best, and no matter how much you think it doesn’t make sense how someone couldn’t not love cycling, it’s still true – some people just don’t, and it’s just as normal for them to not love cycling as it is for why I do.
Anyway, this is all coming from this morning’s ride. It was stunning. The place I live is beautiful and provides endless ribbons of cycle-friendly tarmac (and gravel). The weather was amazing, in its own way. I had the company of a great bunch of guys.
It was one of those rides that was strangely absent of anything that even hinted at a negative thought. No hostile and aggressive motorists, no idiot cyclists, no persistent head-wind. Just the stuff that nourishes and sustains life.
So whereas hopping on a bike as a child gives you a sense of freedom and makes you wonder that anything (as in, everything) is possible, hopping in a bike as an adult has introduced a wider and deeper range of motivators and responses. Kids will bond over a bike ride just as adults do, but as an adult I often discuss the far more profound issues that people wrestle with. Now, on top of mucking about like a kid, I often stop, or slow down long enough to marvel at the landscape I am lucky enough to be able to wander through. It is a way to combat the stress of adult life, build fitness, encourage creativity, build confidence, discipline, self-reliance, and determination. Just like kids, though, cycling is still purely a source of enjoyment, where you can leave your troubles behind, and has still been the catalyst for many, if not most, of the friends I now have.
Anyway, I wasn’t planning on so many words, but rather, I was going to say the rest through images of the past 12 hours or so (with a few extras) that was all about bikes. Last night a few of us took advantage of the world-class track cycling event that was in town again, as I said, this morning was one of those times that summarized the essence of why I ride.
And, of course, getting to the top, soaking up the view, and pushing on past everyone you can!