Why do so many people ride bikes? That’s a question easily answered by those that ride, yet difficult to comprehend for those that don’t. Like any form of exercise, you must actively participate in the sport to feel the benefits. Come along for the ride as I take you through what it’s like to ride a bike from start to finish.
You put on your helmet, and click the strap lock closed. The sky outside is sunny, and it’s already mid way into a warm summer morning. You grab the handlebars of your bike, and meander it from the living room of your cool, air conditioned apartment, to the door. Patting your pockets to make sure you have your keys and your phone, you turn off the lights, say bye to your cats, open and close the door behind you.
As you carry your bike down the hallway stairs, you are thinking about the direction you want to ride when you open the door to the street. The heat, hot desert sun, warm breeze, and friendly faces that are walking by greet you with a warm embrace. The bike you’re riding is a fixed gear bike, so you lift the back wheel to position the pedals properly. After leaning the bike towards you and swinging your legs over, you mount up and begin to ride.
The sidewalk has scattered bumps, and as you weave through the people walking, you hear the birds signing. The wind blows through your hair and you instinctively take a deep breath. You’re the type that likes to go fast, so naturally you push harder. As you round a corner and avoid traffic, the road opens up to you. You begin to get the feeling like you’re flying. Just a simple effort of your legs pushes you fast through the warm summer air. “Today,” you think, “I want to do the 20 mile colt ride.” You’ve done this one before, and it felt so amazing when you’re finished. Today feels like a good day, and you’re ready to take on the challenge once again.
You make a quick right turn onto the bike path, and start pushing hard. The breeze gets stronger as you ride faster. All you can hear now is air whizzing by your ears, and the occasional car as it drives by. You think to yourself, “what a beautiful day today.” You begin to breathe harder the more you pedal. You remember this feeling from the last time you did the ride. Your competitive spirit kicks in making you want to push even harder to beat your previous time.
As you pedal harder, your pedals turn faster. You get to a point where you begin to go downhill for a while, and you lift your feet up and rest them onto the down tube of your frame to take a break. Your bike goes fast, and your pedals keep turning as you rest and take in the scene. Once the path evens out, and you slow down a bit, you carefully put your feet back on the wide pedals, and keep pushing. You pass a family riding their bikes and smile as you see their kids in a rear trailer. “What a great thing to do with kids.” You wonder. You’ve officially decided that this is the best day of your life, and you are exactly where you want to be. It’s a Sunday, beautiful people are out, and you’re right in the mix of it enjoying yourself and the gift of cycling.
As you round the coffee house, you make a quick stop. Every fun ride should end with a cold cup of iced coffee. You get your cup, and take a seat outside under the umbrella. Reading a book from your phone, you feel even more excited to do more with your life, and you text your mom that you love her.
The ride back home is easy going. It’s even a little downhill. This kind of ride leaves you sweaty, full of deep breaths, and your legs feel pumped. Now it’s time for a warm shower and some lunch. The day has just begun.
And your day has just begun too. Get out on your bike, before you lose the feeling of this story. Grasp the moment and enjoy the present while you have it. Smile, laugh, say what you’re grateful for, and feel good. This is just the beginning.