Cycling, Adventure, and Life’s Purpose
“Cycling helped me discover my purpose, learn to enjoy the moment, and taught me to take time to experience the joys and wonders life throws our way.”James Cox
I think for most of us, our cycling journey began when we were little – starting with training wheels, and eventually, into scraped knees and bruised elbows. That last part never sat well with me.
While my friends were keen on hitting ever-bigger jumps, ramps, and hills on their crazy full-suspension setups, I rather enjoyed watching from the sideline and cheering them on.
My fragile mind, body, and bargain-bin bike—complete with unnecessary suspension that was made to look cool rather than work well—were more into cycling for the scenic route. Relaxation and enjoyment were my name of the game.
As a young teenager, though, I didn’t really care about those things. Ferrari stickers? Hell yes!
After spending several cycling days with my friends and gaining more knowledge, my body-to-bike connection eventually grew stronger—and so did my enjoyment hitting small bumps and high speeds.
I didn’t crave adrenaline rushes from clearing 10-meter gaps. Instead, my new vice was feeling happiness while quickly cruising beautiful areas.
With time, my legs grew more powerful, my top speed increased, and my enjoyment expanded during each cycling experience. What was once intimidating and spooky had become comfortably thrilling.
Cycling around the vast parks and landscapes near my home became one of my favorite past times. For me, it was a perfect way to unwind.
Then, I moved to the Netherlands.
A New Life Across the Pond
For the uninitiated, the bike culture in the Netherlands is astronomical compared to North America. Seemingly, everyone owns a bike and uses it daily, whether riding to work, school, or parties. It’s just a way of life and an intrinsic part of their culture.
It also helps that the country is small and as flat as a board, and also boasts fantastic biking infrastructure. Oh, the joys of well-planned and well-maintained bike lanes!
In the Netherlands, I also met a ton of bikepackers, a sport that coincided with my love for backpacking, adventure, and the outdoors in general. I thought, “Why restrict myself to traveling on foot when I can pedal (mostly)everywhere?”
Thus began my lust for freedom and adventure.
Mediterranean Bikepacking Adventures
What’s better than cruising around the Mediterranean at high speeds, enjoying the sights and culture of Croatia, and then camping beside the gorgeous Adriatic Sea? For me, not much!
Going for a fresh dip in 26°C (79°F for my American friends) water, enjoying authentic Adriatic foods, and taking cheesy photos of my bike at sunset? Sign me up!
It was akin to a constant meditative state: pedaling nonstop for hours on end, alone with my thoughts and the sights and sounds surrounding me.
And for someone on a tight budget, my only fuel costs were food to power my legs, which was exceedingly inexpensive. My bike wasn’t exactly cheap (“It’s an investment,” I always tell myself), but replacement tubes definitely were!
During my childhood, while cheerily pedaling around Fish Creek Park, not once did I think that I’d one day cruise around beautiful coastal Croatia. But the whole experience helped me learn a lot about myself and the world I inhabit.
Going with the flow has already taken me this far. Surely, I should continue enjoying the ride and going the direction in which the wind pushes me!
Cycling and the Meaning of Life
Cycling helped me discover my purpose, learn to enjoy the moment, and taught me to take time to experience the joys and wonders life throws our way.
After spending so many miles pedaling, I’ve realized we have only the slightest control over what happens from moment-to-moment.
Looking back, those peaceful rides through parks as a young teen have developed into something I could have never foreseen. Looking forward, it’s now time to start doing as I please.
I thank cycling for playing a large part in helping me reach these realizations.
Don’t stop the good vibes: share your cycling story!