Why do we ride ? I was thinking about this while riding the other day and also why do we ride like we do ? I ride mainly because I have always ridden a bike since the age of 5 in 1948 when I first learned to ride on the road outside my house and since then have progressed through any number of bikes and with a few breaks due to raising a family and work. But why? what keeps me doing it?
I progressed through several adventures in my early cycling life up until I left school. Then I made the step up to joining a cycling club and starting to race as a junior and getting 6th place in my first ever road race. Ever since then I have always ridden hard. It may not have been as hard as some but it was usually as hard as I could go. I seldom if ever take a social, sightseeing ride. There is always that edge. I was always pretty good in my early years of bike racing because I always needed to measure my performance against others by competing with them to best of my ability.
Even now when I am riding and see someone in front of me I am going to catch them. Well that’s my intent, it’s not always possible these days as an increasingly proportion of cyclists are younger and some much younger than I. I don’t get obsessed by the age thing though. When I am out with the club I am riding with mixed ages and all of a similar capability so I am keeping up with them. We are one and the same, regardless of age.
My friend and I were discussing today about how we used to ride behind buses on our training rides and draft along behind them at 30 – 35 mph. We would be riding along at a good speed and if a bus or truck would come past and we could we would sprint to get tucked in behind it. Very dangerous I know but we used to know their routes and where the bus stops were. Anyway, we came out unscathed.
So if I don’t go out for touring rides what motivates me and keeps me going now? Well I am not sure, having thought about it, if I really know. But once I am on the bike and going I don’t want to stop. Is it the exercise ? is it the knowledge I can still do it ? Is it the desire to keep fit? It could and probably is a mixture of all those things
Then there is a joy of riding a high-tech piece of equipment as best I can and wanting to prove worthy of the bike I am riding and to do it justice. I keep it in good shape and love to hear high-pitched hum of highly inflated tyres on the road as I speed along.
I suppose when all is said and done I just love riding a bike when it come down to it, even if sometimes I take a bit of motivating to get out there. Once out I wonder what I was procrastinating about because it feels great. I don’t know how many more years I will be able to carry on but I hope it will be a good number yet. Riding a bike is what I was good at way back then. Most people have some talent inside then waiting to get out and I think riding a bike was mine. I probably wasted a lot of it and regret that on reflection but I still just love it.
It would be interesting to hear other people’s motivation for riding their bikes. Maybe you have as much of a problem as me putting a finger on exactly what it is?