Riding a road bike is not just a pastime for me, it is a passion. My whole life is better because I decided to get on the saddle; here’s just a few of the reasons:
- The freedom. If I have a day and a bike, I can go pretty much anywhere I want. A new bike trail halfway across Florida? No problem. A ride down A1A along the Atlantic? Good plan! A ride around Orlando, got it! Stop for coffee and a sticky bun? Got it!
- The measurable self improvement. Each time I go a little farther, or faster, or ride more hills, I know it. And; if I forget, I have a little computer that keeps track of it for me. It’s nice to see yourself improve at something.
- Going for a ride with old or new friends: There is always a group ride somewhere, thanks to social media it’s no problem to find others, no matter where you are, who will ride at your speed and for your distance. Local bike shops sponsor many of them and you can find them through a variety of web resources from Facebook to Meetup.
- Going for a ride alone: Give me a problem, 2 full water bottles and about 50 miles and I’ll figure just about anything out. Riding alone is my meditation, I am relaxed, engaged, and totally in the moment.
- Descending: Going downhill on a road bike is AWESOME: there’s this hill in Central Florida called Sugarloaf Mountain (it’s the highest spot in the peninsula of Florida) and going down it last year I got my bike going over 45 miles an hour. Once I realized that there was no hope of survival if I crashed, I figured I might as well enjoy my last moments and down I went, grinning from ear to ear.
- Charity Rides: Depending on where you live and the time of year, there is a good charity ride almost every weekend and you can go from 10 to 100 miles (sometimes even more) with a whole bunch of other enthusiasts. It’s a great way to share some energy, learn to ride in a group, and contribute to a good cause.
- The joy of the slipstream: So, when you get a little speed and confidence, you’ll want to try getting in a pace line with other riders. The draft created by the riders in front of you sucks you along and adds speed to your ride while pedaling less, its exhilarating as hell. If you get too close to the rider in front, don’t brake, just slide a little to the left or right out of the draft and you’ll slow down instantly. Of course, you need to have someone teach you the rules, and you’ll have to be prepared to take your turn in the front, “pulling” the group. No one likes a someone who only bums a ride.
- Traveling: There are great rides all over the world, at any skill level. I’m just back from La Vuelta de Puerto Rico, a more advanced ride, and Vermont Bicycle Company offers slower speed rides on 6 continents. You can bring your own bike in a case or rent one.
- Grinning so hard that bugs fly into your teeth. Yea, happens to me all the time.
- You sleep. Yes, sleeping is no longer a problem for me now that I ride, my God I am tired by the end of the day!
There’s probably a lot of other reasons that I ride my bike, which favorites of your’s did I miss?