11 Reasons Why I Ride a Bike
I was sick all weekend. What a drag. It was a beautiful weekend. I would have loved to take Ira out for some fall miles. Instead of doing that, I ate dry toast, drank 7-Up and considered why life on my bike is so great. This is what I came up with.
- It’s hard to take myself so seriously when I’m on a bike. How can I take myself seriously when road rash and bug guts are at the top of the list when the conversations begin with, “An interesting thing happened on my ride today.”
- Freedom. I felt free like I was flying when I was on my yellow Schwinn with a banana seat in 1978 riding ramps in the parking lot of a church. In 1983 on my 12 speed I had the freedom of independence, never reliant on anyone else. Today, almost 30 years later, I feel free when I ride as fast as I can for as long as I can because during that ride, nothing matters but the ride.
- Playground rules. When I was a kid, a small posse would roll up and we would slowly circle the newcomers. We gave the rides a once over then asked questions about the bikes. Has that changed at all? Nope. As a matter of fact, when remembering people’s names, it’s easier to associate the person with the style or particulars of his bike. “You know Tony. He’s the one with the long-tail Surly.”
- Physical connection. When I ride my bike, the sounds and smells around me connect me to the place, good or bad, it’s connection that is important for perspective.
- Legs. Yes, this is a vanity reason. I’m not too proud. Have you seen Victoria Pendleton? Seriously.
- Camaraderie. Of course on any ride, there is camaraderie amongst the group. This camaraderie extends beyond my friends or my team but to the other people out there. Rarely do I meet a person on the trail or road that doesn’t say hello or give that nod of recognition.
- Chasing the elusive goal. Better, faster, stronger. During every ride, I think about this, particularly on hills. Today I will be better than yesterday.
- Continuity. Nothing has changed. I have changed bikes over the years, but it is really the same now as it was when I was flying over ramps on the yellow Schwinn. The only difference I can think of in my 37 years is the introduction of the bike helmet to my gear. A good move, considering my occasional riskier riding.
- Strength of body, strength of mind. It sounds a little corny when I read that, but it’s true. When I feel physically strong and able, my head is on board. I make better decisions and I am sharp.
- A good excuse to be outside. Fresh air and sunshine will always put me in a better mood. I prefer to ride my bike outside than hop on a stationary bike or trainer. The latter two are a means to an end, but they really only help me to be better, faster, stronger when I am riding outside.
- To feel something. It could be exhilaration, pain, exhaustion, fear or energized. It is something. It is always connected to the ride. It is never about other “stuff”. Just the ride.
Today I feel much better. Today, I’m going to ride my bike twice.