Earlier this month I was in France and on one day found myself grinding up Mt. Ventoux. Cycling history and nostalgia were omnipresent as the road tipped up in final kilometers, and riders of all ages were no doubt soaking it up.
I took note of the number of riders in their 60s and 70s eschewing a more casual spin to/from one of the many cafes deserving of their patronage, to tackle the Giant of Provence. One gentleman in particular caught my attention, standing on the edge of the road with his head in his hands on the handlebars gesturing “sacrebleu!” while a compatriot offered morale. This scene played out in French of course, so the friend could have been plying him with the notion of cafes and espresso and croissants.
All this got me thinking about why we willfully subject ourselves to such a scenario and more specifically, what makes us love to ride? Cycling is many things to many people: a sport, passion, hobby, and while less nostalgic, a job for some. But for even those on the payroll, there are far more pleasant ways to earn a living than slogging through a long, wet winter on the bike.
Jack Maddux, Student and four-time Junior National Champion
“Cycling is an outing for me, I can always jump on my bike and clear my head, and I love competing.”
Erle Martin, Avid amateur who found his love for the sport late in life
“It’s the cheapest therapy around.”
Kevin Metcalfe, 15-time Masters National Champion in Track, Road Race and Time Trial
I love riding my bike because it’s just plain fun! I like the feeling of being fit. I like seeing the sights as I ride around that I’d never see if I was driving or would never get to if I was running.
Ben Jacques-Maynes, Road Cyclist, Jamis-Hagens Berman Pro Cycling Team
“I ride for for the sights/sounds/experiences the bicycle takes me to every day”
Jason Walker, Father and two-time Masters National Champion
“I love it for the escape and to inspire my two sons”
Brian Bach Vandborg, 2013 Danish National Time Trial Champion
I ride because I still love my time on the bike. It’s that simple.”
“Paul Chuck, rides to Obtain a Better Quality of Life
Cycling became a part of my life 28 years ago when I realized all the money in the world couldn’t buy me happiness. I was work driven and unhealthy which was the beginning of a downward spiral into a black hole. Cycling saved my life and continues to make every other event in my life have meaning.”
What inspires you to ride?