Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why We Ride

Why do we ride, why the love affair we have with the bicycle? The reasons vary from person to person, from day to day. None are written in stone or are permanent situations. Friends and co-workers often don't get or appreciate our passion for cycling. Maybe to some it's not a passion, but part of daily life, such as commuters, or kids who use it for transportation out of necessity. Some, or I might think most, see it as a sport, recreation, and transportation.

Me, first and foremost is the simple, but hard to obtain, perfect day. That's when the legs are strong, the pedal stroke is smooth and fluid, the weather perfect. Could be a solo training ride, a hard group hammerfest, or just a cruise with buddies and no particular objective.

Next is for my health. I rode most of my life until a bad marriage and general lack of joy in life derailed my spirit and ambitions. 14 years and a bunch of pounds gained let diabetes slip one past the goalie. I bought a mountain bike for exercise and weight loss. I had assumed I would just get on and pick up where I had left off. Fat and gravity let me know otherwise. But I stuck with it and am getting better everyday. I'll never be fast again, but i remember what it was like enough to try to get back to it. Climbing is the toughest form to regain, and the most work.

Another thing I use cycling for is the mind clearing, stress relieving effect it has. My life recently has been one hectic, problem, health, and stress filled mess for a while again. But just an hour in the saddle clears the head and allows me to put things in perspective. I get the same impression from a lot of the blogs I read. If more people understood this concept and got in some good, hard workouts instead of drinking, drugs, overeating etc., the world would be a better place.

I've been riding to work quite a bit. Saves gas, cost of maintenance, improves fitness. A very small sacrifice of of time for big savings and gains in the wallet and health. Wakes a person up so you can be sharper at work, plus you can drop the work "baggage" before you get home. My drive/bike ratio is widening and I hope to make it a way of life. The hills suck on the way to work, but the speed on the way home is rewarding.

I could go on all day, but this is enough for today.


Dilettante said...

I have to agree with all your comments. I ride mainly for the simple joy of it. A bad day on the bike still beats a good day staying inside!
Also reason to ride is the interesting people you meet along the way. While I tour-bike, people who wouldn't give me the time of day in a car stop and have 45min long conversations. They always make me happy.

As for rain gear, what have you been thinking? I'm trying to decide about splurging on a breathable jacket I can use for rain + wind, or continuing with the plastic bags...

Boz said...

I'm leaning towards a jacket from Gore. Wind/water control, plus breathable. Kinda spendy, but I see them on sale once in a while, so I'll wait till I can get one on clearance.

Biking Duluth said...

Boz- I have been pretty out of the loop. I didn't know you've been posting so much because I started using bloglines to track all the stuff I read, but I didn't put your new blog on my list yet. Doing that now so I won't miss any more!

Boz said...

Jeff - I was wondering if you had dropped off the face of the blog-earth. Ha-Ha!! See ya soon.