Bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes, bikes.
Love em, hate em, race em, collect em, or build em (hopefully there is some element of riding involved.) Bikes are the gateway drug to a lifestyle of discovery, curiousity, as well as physical and mental well being. From the early years of childhood to life as an adult, bikes open up new opportunities to all of us in our lives.
I can remember getting my first bike as a kid and being overwhelmed with options as where to go. This means I can ride around my block. I can do bigger loops and cover more ground (too bad I have no sense of direction as a kid in his single-digits. Looks like I’ll keep things in my neighborhood.)
I also have fond memories of long trips I’ve made crossing the city as a kid (whether my folks were aware I was up to this task is another story) both on foot and on bikes. From the 8-10 mile hike home from school, to bike rides to the beach on cruisers, alternative, non-vehicular modes of transport have a special place in my upbringing.
Fast forward to six years ago when skinny tire track bikes were introduced to me. This was my first experience in riding at competitive speeds with peers. While there are obvious challenges that come with riding the track bike on the open road, bikes had expanded my horizons and explored the possibilities of travel and self discovery. Add a road bike with tears and brakes and a whole new catalyst had taken over.
Wanting to find the hills that once held me back previously, had a new challenge with proper shifting and braking. Things got a little easier for the time being but as challenges went away, new ones arose. I got talked into racing bikes competitively on a sanctioned level since I had shown that riding at competitive speeds was something that interested me. That in it of itself has had its ups and downs (which I will skip for the sake of time and subject consistency) but has in its own way shown other avenues I never had thought possible.
Human beings are resilient creatures. Something about bikes brings that resiliency to the public eye and holds its own deep appreciation for almost all fellow humans whether they care to admit it or not. Most of us have had an experience with a bike whether during childhood or just recently. I have an uncle that has rediscovered bikes as an adult and has personally reminded me how rad people on bikes can be. What may come across as completely illogical and ridiculous behavior is completely justified in the riders own head. I was pleasantly reminded of actions that can take place with something as simple as free will (and of course, a bike.)
Bottom line, bikes allow people to do rad things. I’ve had my handful of rad things done both on and off the bike. While we may come to this conclusion sooner than others, that’s not to say that we have become callus and receive news of novice riders pedaling in triple digit temperatures while having only ridden for two weeks as not surprising. Reality checks like this keep us from categorizing other people’s potential and keep our minds open to other, less cocentional opportunities. So when I find myself behaving as a worrying parent would their child, I can’t help but be reminded of how some friends and family must have felt when I was getting rad in my own way. Mindful insight will never get old to me.
Until next time….