Love of the Bike by Chris Lyman
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.
So I asked around to find out what drives everyone from Pros to Joes to throw a leg over the bike, and keeps them coming back for more.
“I love exploring the world by bike. Whether it’s a seldom used stretch of road near my house, a fire trail in the middle of nowhere, or a new country when traveling to race, the bike is my favorite way to see new places.”
Philip Mooney, Professional Cyclist, Team Jamis-Hagens Berman
“Exercise and fitness are obvious but piece of mind and stress relief is on top. When riding alone, I can watch speed, HR, etc, but I can also dream, plan and think about tomorrow and beyond.”
Bill Cockroft, 1994 Inductee to Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
“I get satisfaction from completing a long ride. It keeps me fit and is a great stress reducer.”
Giampaolo Pesce, Restaurateur.(ed. note: Giampaolo’s Riviera Ristorante is a Northern Cal cycling culinary Mecca)
“I ride because bikes are awesome and with enough patience, they’ll save the world. I mean that. From a health, environmental, societal, financial, and every other perspective standpoint, bikes are a cure for what ails us.”
Ted King, Cannondale Pro Cycling