Today is my second Cycling Anniversary. My life changed for the better on May 23, 2011 when two days before I bought a cheap Huffy bike that was easily three sizes too small. Still 40 years-old at the time, I had no clue that I would absolutely fall in love with riding a bicycle – let alone two.
Two weeks after that first ride I bought a properly sized Trek 3700 that I still own and though I choose it less frequently in favor of my 5200 road bike, I still love that mountain bike. The 5200, on the other hand, is my ride of choice and my pride and joy. It’s an older bike, for sure, but it’s still whisper quite and rides smooth and fast.
Two years ago I’d become disenchanted with running, it simply became boring. With cycling however, I find it vastly more entertaining. I went from running two days a week to cycling six days and running two. I get a nice little endorphin rush almost every time I go out and it’s become a necessity to decompression after a stressful day at the office. In fact, I can throw a ride at any tough situation and straighten myself back out.
Cycling has brought a balance and joy to my life. Where there was once doubt and consternation there is peace and understanding – and confidence. Cycling, as much as anything before it, has taught me how to flip the bird to the committee in my head that cries out in chorus, “you can’t”. Cycling is something that I look forward to on a daily basis.
Cycling has given me true fitness and some badass legs. Lungs so strong that my doctor complains about how long it takes for me to fill them when he says robotically, “okay, take a deep breath”. A strong, steady, efficient and clean heart – when the nurse takes my pulse for a checkup it almost always illicits an “oh, wow”…
Cycling has given me something to share with my wife and girls – and a way to do for my wife what she once did for me when she got me into running.
Cycling is my Ritalin. It’s my Coca-Cola, my chocolate cake and my Big Mac.
Cycling is my addiction… With a few exceptions of course: Cycling makes me healthier, it doesn’t poison me. Cycling helps me to keep my wife, kids and job, it doesn’t take away everything in my life that is good (though it is fair to argue that alcohol didn’t take those things – I gave them up, almost without a fight). Cycling will help me to be active at 80, while alcohol would have had me dead at 30.
Cycling is my deserted island for an hour a day.
As a celebratory ride I headed out yesterday for an easy sixteen. I was cruising along, enjoying what was a great spring day that was forecast to be a washout. I’d worked hard the night before on the club ride and I was in the mood to just enjoy a spin. At the seven mile mark I turned west and saw this:
Now folks, that’s not good when you’ve got nine miles left. I thought about knocking a few miles off by heading straight back at a leisurely pace to save my legs… Then I thought better of that and decided to turn it into a game to see if I could beat the rain. Now this decision was fairly stupid – those are severe weather clouds. There was a fair chance of lightning in them – I do not recommend this behavior. Now, heading west I was into a steady 20 mph cross-headwind so the best I could do was about 17… After that mile though I got into the gas and got to moving. To make a long story short, with a mile to go into a full on 20 mph headwind I was pushing for all I was worth – 19 mph with the clouds right on top of me… It was going to be close. Half-mile to go and the wind picked up and so did I. 20 mph and the sprinkles started, then intensified. I made it into the house just before the sky opened up. Just in time.
A caveat: Back when I was just a young buck, my dad (who was a meteorologist in the Air Force) helped me with my fifth grade science project – a full workup of three months worth of weather, three measurements a day, rain accumulation, types of clouds present in the sky, wind direction and velocity – he taught me everything that a fifth grader could comprehend (and then some) about the weather. Well, that science project (for which I got an A+ and recognition) has stuck with me my whole life so I can tell by looking at the sky, pretty much within a few minutes, when bad weather is going to hit so I wasn’t exactly taking a crap-shoot. Unless you have enough experience to do this on your own, I highly recommend against it.
Also, please stop by my English brother in chain rings’ site to wish him a happy cycling anniversary as well. His will be coming up in three weeks. Three cheers for BikevCar! Happy anniversary to us brother.
UPDATE: And to Laura, who celebrated her Second Anniversary yesterday!