For the past 4.5 years, I have been cycling like I did when I was a kid. Actually, I have been riding more these days than ever before. I’m on pace for a 4,000 mile year here in 2011. A personal best.
With my bikes, I have had rides that elevated my psyche to wonderful levels of physical and personal achievement, and I’ve had my fair share of rides that if I wasn’t as strong a rider as I am would’ve crushed my spirit and made me put my bikes up for sale on eBay and/or Craigslist.
For the past 4.5 years though, I have viewed my bike and my rides SOLELY as a workout. A way to stay in shape. My bikes have been pieces of exercise equipment to me.
Every ride has been a workout for me. The sole purpose of the ride was to burn calories. Sure, I tried to enjoy the rides for what they were, and for the most part, I did. I do indeed enjoy cycling, but something has been missing. I have never been able to put my finger on it, although I sure have been trying to figure it out.
It’s taken me 4.5 years and some wonderful conversations with my VERY knowledgeable riding neighbor (Bill) to realize JUST WHAT I HAVE BEEN MISSING…
I forgot how to view my bike(s) as a form of TRANSPORTATION. Now that I commute anywhere from 65 to 90 miles a week into work on my bike, I have realized that riding a bike for the sheer purpose of viable transportation makes you appreciate your cycling more. There’s a different mindset involved when you’re using your bike for a purpose, other than a tool to work out on.
As a bike commuter, I don’t focus on my MPH, or my average or pace that I’m setting. I just get on my bike and RIDE. What a concept! Just ride! I use my bike to get from point A to point B.
I’m noticing on my rides into work these days that I’m just enjoying being on my bike the entire time. I don’t want my commute to end. I’m taking in the sights, the sounds, everything there is to take in about my surroundings. I’m riding my bike as if I was 10 years old and as if it was my ONLY mode of getting around. I sure as hell did love riding my bike when I was 10. I am now re-experiencing that feeling these days.
This realization on my part has re-ignited my love for cycling.
My neighbor (Bill) and I were chatting last night and he mentioned that “the focus of commuting is very different from that of training.”
I have basically been “training” on the bike these past 4.5 years. I can’t believe it has taken me that long to realize I have been missing out on the “joy” of using a bike as a form of transportation.
So, each morning now, I head out of the house with my bike in tow. I drive in ½ way to work and ride in the final ½. The riding part of my day is the best part of my work day. Without my bike, I’d be stuck with my car as my only mode of transportation.
No thanks. I’ll take riding part way into work any day of the week vs. driving in everyday.