Being on a road bike is a long road. The road in front of you seems to go on and on and on. That is, until you see a stop sign in the distance, that red hexagon that tells you to stop, slow down, unclip and wait for the oncoming traffic. As a cyclist we have to obey the rules of the road, yet a 35 mile bike ride does more for your body and mind than sitting in a car for 30 minutes does.
I recently hooked up with my old TNR (Tuesday Night Ride) group at Velo City Cycles in Holland, Michigan. I saw heaps of familiar faces, got a hug from MC, the shop owner, and biked with an old friend (whom I met by bonding over our love for our Bianchis.) As the miles passed by I chatted with different guys on the ride, rolling over the hills, noticing the different landscape we have here in Michigan versus Maryland. Flat versus hilly, farm land versus the Chesapeake Bay I’ve become so familiar with.
Half way through the ride I began to feel the five miles I ran earlier that morning. My quadriceps were ‘feeling the burn’ that Coach Troy would be proud of. My outer quads worked hard while I ran. Now the inner quads were working (and screaming!) But the feeling of working, of hurting, of knowing I was going to be sore was tremendous and great. This ride was about the ride not the destination (I know! Cliché, but it’s soooooo true!) I enjoyed the conversation, I enjoyed the scenery, I didn’t enjoy the farm smells so much, but the silos towering over the fields were beautiful in a Pure Michigan way.
Obeying the rules sucks. But to be respected on the road cyclist must obey the rules. However, just by being on a bike and competing with the cars we’re breaking some sort of unwritten rule. We’re riding on the road on two wheels, powering our bodies on this machine with nothing but a helmet (brain bucket) for protection. Our spandex shorts most definitely aren’t the most stylish of clothing and some of us wear jerseys, I’m too poor to invest and just wear a running top… so in a sense, as we’re following the rules of the road we’re also breaking them down. We’re unconventional. I feel we’re sticking it to the man by not buying gas, by using our bodies and machines as efficiently as possible we’re somehow better than those people driving and riding shotty. It may take us a little longer to get somewhere but we’re enjoying the ride not just looking and waiting for the destination.
And what’s the destination anyway?