Over the 20 plus years I have been riding, my reasons have changed, but also remained the same. The one reason that has never changed is the freedom to be able to get out on my bike and ride for hours. Secondary reasons include touring, training and competition. While the reasons vary, the underlying passion stays with me. That feeling after a great ride is hard to duplicate, especially when a coffee stop is involved. After all, caffeinated cyclists are happy cyclists, right?
As an experienced road cyclist, I need to remember that my time on the bike is not always about me. I remember when I was new to road cycling and multisport. I was, and still am grateful for those who inspired me and showed me the way. Over the past several years I have been able to give back what was so generously given to me as the ride leader of our Sunday shop ride.
A group ride in its truest form is about people coming together to do something they love doing, riding their bike. The group gives them an educational forum and a social outlet and beyond that, the group pushes, motivates, encourages and if you allow it, the group can transform a person.
In my experience, the group ride can be a life changer, leading its members into territories previously unknown to them. While the group has many functions, it is also a lesson in human behavior. I have witnessed the group ride helping people people out of their social shells and I have seen mild-mannered individuals turn into animals on the bike. The group can showcase one’s own means to an end, as well as one’s selflessness. I know cyclists who have become leaders in the sport and do an outstanding job of bringing others into the fold, and I know some who ride purely for their own gain and competitive edge.
While I enjoy riding with the group and helping those new to the sport find their motivation for riding, I must admit my love for the adrenaline filled ride, race or time trial, solo or with others. The high I get from that cannot be duplicated, and its a lot healthier than the high I got in my younger days from other things. As I get older, I don’t plan on giving up riding anytime soon. I am lucky to have great role models in my life who inspire me to keep going, stay healthy, happy and fit. It is those role models who taught me how to look outside myself and offer my years of experience and knowledge to others, and for that I am forever grateful.