I recently had a close friend who I hadn’t ridden with in a while pose I very simple but inherently deep question to me: “Mike, you still ride a ton…why do you ride?”
On that beautiful Kelowna spring morning, as we enjoyed the silky smooth tarmac, I began to collect my thoughts to answer Evan’s simple question. Wow, so many reasons, where do I begin…?
I love it.
I love the pursuit of fitness. I love to see how I can push my body to new heights. I love how I can continually grow with the sport of cycling and how my passion does not fade. I love the feeling my body provides when I’ve pushed it to a new level in training and it’s now going through the remarkable process of adaptation. The ability of the human body to adapt and change truly amazes me.
It makes me look under thirty, not mid-thirties. I feel pleasure when I reveal my age to non-cycling related colleagues and new acquaintances. More often then not, people are genuinely surprised to hear that I will be turning 35 this fall.
It helps me think creatively and gives me the opportunity to create clarity in my thoughts. I have my best ideas while out on the bike. Some runners I know like running because it is a form of meditation – their brain closes down and don’t really think anything. For me, it’s the opposite. Churning away a constant cadence seems to stimulate my creativity, so much so that sometimes I have to stop and write stuff down.
I have broken knees and riding makes me feel normal – not like a 70 year old man (I really feel like an old man with my knees when I stop riding for a duration of 2 weeks or more). I was in a bad car accident when I was 16, and I injured my ‘good’ knee while playing hockey in ’09, so for me, cycling is a form of constant therapy. Honestly, I have pain walking down stairs when I haven’t’ ridden for a couple of weeks. It’s almost something I must do to stay ‘normal’.
I get really cranky if I don’t ride and I become a grumpy moody bugger (just ask my wife!). This one is pretty straight forward. I admit it. I’m a cranky bugger, but riding buffers all of that crankiness.
I love the sound of a free wheel buzzing in the silence of a calm morning. It’s like music to my ears. Like the gentle whizzing of a fishing rod, or the soothing sounds of crickets chirping on a warm summer’s eve, the sound instantly puts me in my happy place.
It is a reminder of how great life really can be. I mean, riding a bicycle is one of the best things life has to offer in my opinion.
At the end of the day, why do I ride? It’s just part of who I am.