61,000+ miles on a bicycle. Almost 2-1/2 times around the earth. Some, a very rare few, have the time to do that in a year. It took me eight wonderful years.
For me, there truly is no better way to see the countryside than from the saddle of a bike.
I have more appreciation for the planet we live on that I ever thought possible, simply from riding its roads, almost always with friends. The sights and smells, the colors… the water.
For years, while I was struggling to get my cycling legs I was too busy pushing the pedals to look around. Back then it was all about the speed and getting faster. Now that I’ve managed to get as fast as I want to be and know how to strategically use “active recovery days”, cycling has become a lot more enjoyable.
I’ve gone up hills that had me as slow as two miles an hour, and I’ve raced down them at better than 56-mph. I’ve seen majestic color changes just before trees shed their leaves, and Lake Michigan, far below awesome cliffs. I’ve spent fantastic time with my wife and friends creating memories that’ll last a lifetime, long after we’ve traded our road bikes in for trikes… or walking shoes.
The best thing I’ve gotten out of cycling was learning how to have fun. Not stodgy “adult” fun, sitting on a couch watching a football game. Kid fun. The kind that makes me feel young again. You can’t fight time any more than you can gravity, but fun makes it slow down just enough that I can look around and think, “My God, I’m a fortunate guy.”
As I get older and my elder family members began passing on, it’s really sunk in how blessed I am to be able to look forward to another day on the right side of the grass, pumping air. I’ve come to understand just how rare true happiness and contentment is – and how important it is to fill each moment with as much good as I can stand.
I’ve learned just how good it is to be me. And that’s enough to keep me on the path, because I don’t want to mess it up.