Why do we ride?

14 Jan

I was fat, broke and lazy. I’d lost any semblance of high school runner shape, several years of fried food and complete inactivity left me breathless trying to play disc golf with friends. Even attempting to squat to put away dishes in lower cabinets was beginning to become quite uncomfortable. Something in me started to realize that my condition was going to go one way or the other. I was either going to get in shape, or give up. Well, being broke, I bought a cheap fixie online and started riding a bike again.
Fast forward a year. I’ve lost 30 pounds, started doing group rides (in chuck taylors and a green Dick’s Sporting Goods clearance jersey), and decided to do a two day 150 mile charity ride. On my fixie. The scenic shore 150 is a two day (75 miles each day) trek from Mequon, WI to Sturgeon Bay, WI. I survived just fine, and many people I rode with were astonished. I was like “It’s the only bike I have”, so I made it work.
Fast forward five years. I’m 31, all my hair is gone, I’ve got four kids under the age of four, student loan debt looming like apocalyptic storm clouds and am trying to get a house before our lease is up. And I’ve signed up to do a 107 mile gravel ride as well as a 100 mile single track mountain bike race. Did I mention I don’t really have a mountain bike I can ride for that?
So why do we ride? Why do we put ourselves through the suffering, and the training, and the balancing how to make it work? Beyond all the obvious reasons, I think it’s because it changes us. It changed me. Riding again made me feel for a change like life was actually possible. Because when you come home spent after barely making it up those hills, you feel like this real life we live in can actually be conquered. So I will keep doing ridiculous rides, the scope of which I don’t even comprehend yet. I will keep on pushing, and hopefully in the process I’ll show my kids that perseverance matters. I’ll show them that there is more to life than bills and debt and houses and television. Or maybe I’ll just show them that it’s always okay to have fun.

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2 Responses to “Why do we ride?”

  1. bgddyjim January 14, 2017 at 11:02 pm #

    It’s always okay to have a little fun… and with cycling, it’s even okay to play like a kid again. Good luck!

    • Adam Koenig January 15, 2017 at 1:10 am #

      Indeed! I’m starting to ride just for fun again. Racing’s great, but just messin’ around can be pretty great too.

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