Once again I entered the Trek Women Who Ride contest. Once again, I wasn't selected. I suppose I could play the sick card... that combined with my writing style would probably take me pretty far in the process... but I'm just not willing to go that route. At any rate, I give you my answer to the question: Why Do You Ride?
Few machines have changed so fundamentally little in the last century as bicycles. I like to think that's because those of us who ride understand that there's no better pace at which to watch the world go by, and no better place from which to watch it, than from the seat of a bicycle.
I ride for many reasons. One is that spending time in my saddle at that perfect pace has taught me that cycling is empowering. I'm awed by the mind-body-bike connection and the satisfaction of moving forward under my own steam. Whether it's a sixty minute ride or a sixty mile ride, in it, I find joy and freedom.
I bought my first Trek a few years ago at the urging of some participants in my indoor cycling classes. It was love at first pedal stroke. I discovered that cycling is a great equalizer. People of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels can transcend whatever their perceived obstacles may be and roll beyond them, both literally and figuratively, from atop a bike. Riding has sparked my determination to overcome physical limitations and awakened my inner athlete. It's transformed my body while providing hours of enjoyment and a new found sense of self. Cycling has given me the confidence to take on challenges I once thought were beyond me, like century rides and multisport, and allowed me to experience a whole new range of emotions stirred by a finish line crossing.
Be it in the quiet solitude of an early morning ride, the camaraderie of a pack, or the thrill of riding a triathlon bike leg, cycling is a sport like no other. One of my favorite things about biking is that it is unifying and inclusive in that both the mentor and the mentored, the novice and the pro, can, more or less, ride together, side by side, and learn from one another.
I ride because when I get on my bike, I move into another realm where I can escape the stresses of daily living, or perhaps simply reflect upon them. I ride because when I get off my bike, I feel a sense of peace and accomplishment. I ride because I want to be a good role model to my three children who are learning that it is important not only to be strong, independent and active, but also to find your passion and hold tightly to it. I ride because doing so enables me to inspire others by bringing them along on my journey.
Mostly, though, I ride because the allure of the bicycle is that while it may have stayed the same for a hundred years, and it may stay fundamentally the same for a hundred more, no one who rides can help but be changed. Cycling thousands of miles has forever changed my life.
I am, indeed, a woman who rides, and I welcome the opportunity to share my contagious enthusiasm for the sport I love.