Cycling is more than finishing first
As the new year begins I think about what cycling means to people.
rim and power is generated from the hub! Then there was the elegant looking bike lock which could be displayed as a piece of art on your office desk. Like Einstein said, I bet the inventors thought of these while on their bike for an easy cruise - not pounding away at the pedals with the nose on the stem, legs burning, and breathing hard. Speaking from personal experience, a slow ride has often been the best cure for writer's block.
I race my bike. Not as much as I used to, but I still show up to the weekly training ride to hone my fitness. As I roll around with the peloton there are other riders that will never pin a number to their jersey. To them cycling is a way to burn off some extra pounds or improve their cardiovascular system after years of abuse. Go to any bookstore and you'll see several books on the subject on how riding a bike changed their lives for the better. While some are riding for self improvement others are riding for a cause. A quick search on the web will find you several people who are raising funds for numerous charities, from cancer research, funds to fight multiple sclerosis, to the Wounded Warrior Ride. So while I ride my local bike path, that's sometimes choked with slowly meandering cyclists or runners, I remind myself that some of these people are out here not just for themselves. They are participating in their sport of choice because they want to make a difference. They want to be a part of some cause that is bigger than themselves and it doesn't require great fitness - just passion combined with dedication.
There's numerous other subsets of cyclists. Relatively new is the fixie movement. Inspired from bike messengers, these riders roll around town on fixed gear bikes customized with cards in the spokes, narrow handlebars and bag thrown over the shoulder. To be honest I looked at these riders as our equivalent of bike hippies - having extreme views on the rights of bicycles to the point of being obnoxious about their cause. I jumped to the wrong conclusion about these riders. Sure some are very opinionated about cars with stickers on their bike's top tube proclaiming, "cars are coffins," others are just riding because they dig the freedom the bike has given them. Whether you agree that cars are evil I think we can all agree that riding a bike gives us that feeling of freedom we seldom get in our normal lives.
While we may have different goals, we share the same pleasurable experience of feeling the wind in our face. Cycling doesn't require you to be the fastest or suffer the most. It is more than that. Cycling is about innovation, passion, and let's not forget - a good time - otherwise why bother? Cycling is all these things and many more to many people. Sometimes it's good to get a reminder of that. Clipping into two-hundred dollar pedals with three-hundred dollar shoes isn't