Why I ride. I’ve pedaled a long way in the past 10 years. From struggling with a broken, down-to-one-gear, bike on a ride to Eagle and back with my sister and brother, to “only” having 2 bikes, doing 30 mile rides easily (at least to me), hating wind, and looking forward to watching the Tour de France every year.
Why? Why do I look forward to spending a few hours on a little piece of foam, plastic and metal, struggling up hills, enjoying flats and constantly looking out for cars as I pedal around? Is it exercise, enjoyment, escape? It’s all three.
Exercise. When I ride, I feel better physically. I was all geared up, ready to ride every day to work and back and March 13, 2020 hit. That’s the day we were sent home to work. And the last time I would be in the office (except to pack up my desk when it was decided we would become officially, remote workers). Over the next year, I gained 35 pounds, my joints hurt, and when I bent down to tie my shoes, I came up winded. After my hands, elbows, shoulders and legs hurting for so long, it was time to head to the doc.The results were upsetting, to say the least, way overweight, bad arthritis, and my lab work was threatening. SO, diet, meds and exercise were the ticket. As of today, due to all three (and I owe a lot to cycling), I’m down 40, my joints don’t hurt and my numbers are well within range. Staying healthy by keeping moving forward.
Enjoyment. It’s a joy when I ride, I get to see all sorts of things. When you’re the only person on the MOPAC, heading east with the sun just above the horizon, it’s amazing. Quiet, calm and peaceful. You see all sorts of wildlife, people you do see are pleasant and the feeling you have is, to me, a nirvana-like presence.
I volunteer to help out with some rides (that I know I can’t do) and really enjoy the moments working with other riders (or runners when helping with the Lincoln Marathon and the Good Life Halfsy). I look forward to the feeling of community when I ride the Tour de Brews, Taco rides, Trail Trek, CSG rides, etc. Again, more ways of adding enjoyment to my life. Enjoyment by keeping moving forward.
Escape.That first ride 10 years ago came roughly one year after my daughter was killed in a car accident. Alley was 18. August is still a month that I wish didn’t exist. But when I rode that bike with my siblings, even though it was a struggle (I was way out of shape, again, the bike was broken and I had never done the Eagle ride before), I felt something. It was an escape from everything. My mind was forced (in a good way) to concentrate on other things. To keep my mind focused on the path, the surroundings, the road ahead. To keep moving forward.
When I ride, Alley rides with me. When I did ride to work, getting back in the saddle ( so to speak) again was an escape from everything that had happened in the office ( good and bad). The 4 miles back home allowed me time to relax and again, focus on moving forward.
And after this past year and a half, Covid, being stuck at home and the worst- my Dad being diagnosed, and dying, of cancer. When I get on my bike, start my Strava and hit the pavement (or limestone), the escape I feel is immediate. I’m gone. I’m away from everything, moving forward.
Yes, I still hate going up the path behind Holmes Lake dam and hitting the rise just east of Walton on the way back from Eagle (too full of tacos and beer), but I relish the challenge. I enjoy the feeling. And, I look forward to the roads ahead, to keep moving forward. Ride on!
“Live life the way you want to be remembered and you won’t have any regrets,”–Alley Wright