I have not raced an Ironman, or really any distance triathlon, in a few years. In that time, my love for cycling didn’t diminish but the amount of time I had available to me did. I was riding with a friend, OK I was chasing him, and thought about riding and why. As we began a climb and my legs started to burn a little I thought: This Is Why I Ride. As we crested the top of the climb I remember reading this article from CNN. The article discusses the cycling boom during the pandemic going bust.
As I read the article I found myself hoping that those that jumped on cycling as a way to get about remembered why they started cycling and got back to it. There are many reasons to ride a bike and they are going to be different for everybody. I believe that love for riding starts as a kid but as we grow older we let life creep stifle that feeling.
I hope as you read through the reasons for why I ride you are reminded of your reasons and get back out there.
This Is Why I Ride
Freedom. When I clip in and make that first pedal stroke the world begins to float away. I am focused on the wind on my face, the sun beaming down and looking forward to where the road takes me. There is freedom in riding a bike.
A number of years ago I owned a t-shirt that used the hashtag #FreedomMachine and I cannot get that out of my head each time I ride. There is a freedom to riding and not one that you can get from driving a car or even running.
Being A Kid Again. The majority of us can remember grabbing your bike and riding down the street to your friends house to play. Some days you rode for 5 minutes and then played tag or kill the carrier (remember that game?) Other times you rode 5 minutes to meet up with your buddies and then rode all over your town. There was nothing that could stop you, other than the street lights coming on, and it was bliss.
Today when I ride my bike I think back to that time and remember that this is fun. That when I’m riding up and down hills that I also did this as a 10 year old. I get to be a kid again, and in today’s world that is much needed.
To Become A Better Cyclist. Despite riding a Mongoose with a baseball card stuck in the spokes, I would not consider myself to be a good cyclist. In order to become better, I had to ride more. Riding more meant more freedom and being a kid but it also meant something else.
It meant that there would be rides where I would suffer as I tried to keep up with better cyclists. I have ridden with cyclists that can climb to the top of a hill, rest, bake a cake and still have to wait on me to get to the top. That made me better because I worked harder to keep up.
To Enjoy A Cup Of Coffee and Laughs. When I’m training for an Ironman or 70.3, I do the ‘hard’ work on the trainer during the week. The intervals and all-out efforts are done on the trainer and the weekends are for long rides, cups of coffee and laughs.
I enjoy the long rides where you’re pushing your pedals and working to keep up with the crew but the best part of those long rides is stopping for a cup of coffee and a cookie. Telling stories and laughing. We are working hard all week long at jobs or running companies. We are training hours upon hours to get better for our upcoming race. The weekend bike ride is my chance to relax, put in time in the saddle, enjoy a cup of coffee and laugh.
The Nap. After a ride there is the recovery meal that typically includes a burrito the size of a man hole cover. Better than that burrito is the nap. We’ve all read the articles and/or studies of how sleeping helps us get stronger but how many actually follow that advice?
The nap is one of the main reasons for why I ride. Sometimes that nap is 2 hours and other times that nap is 30 minutes but it is glorious. Think about it this way: Ride, Coffee, Ride, Eat, Nap, Eat. Seriously? Is there anything better than that?
We all have different reasons for doing the things that we do. I love riding, especially with cyclists that are better than me. I love chasing them all over, whether that is up a long climb or tucking in and pushing the pedals. Cycling is freedom and the opportunity to be a kid again.
This is why I ride. Why do you?