Cycling Stories

Over the Hills We Go

February 27, 2020


Over the Hills We Go

“Whenever I ride a bicycle, I smile from ear to ear the entire time.”

Brian Otieno

“Hey, Brian! Are you in for a ride today?”

The fateful words reached my ears as I was about to grab breakfast.

I turned to see Kev, my cycling companion. Even though I had duties to carry out that chilly morning, my passion for bikes made me more than willing to forego them – including my hunger.

“Quick, come help me grab some snacks for the journey,” I said.

Without hesitation, Kev parked his knobby tire mountain bike against the wall of my apartment while I put on my cycling gear (not forgetting my helmet). We didn’t know how far we’d ride, so I made sure to carry plenty of water to last throughout our journey.

We were young, adventurous, and ready for new thrills, so we took off from my apartment down a steep hill that led to a local university campus. We kept our hands in the air the whole way down and yelled into the wind with delight.

Don’t you like doing the same?

Credit: Unsplash

Seeking Adventure

We live in the deep savannah, which is covered in thick forests and filled with perfect manmade trails that we can pedal for hours. We’re lucky to live in a dry neighborhood, but it was early enough that the soil was still wet from dew as we explored new trails we hadn’t ridden before, seeking fresh adventure.

The whizzing from our tires excited us, and we recorded each other going downhill on our phones. Kev and I had cycled together for more than two years at that point, and we knew these experiences are worth reliving once we arrived back home.

Why do we do this? We have a passion for cycling!

New Trails

We turned left onto a path we hadn’t ridden before, but right from the start, we could see that it was very rocky. Thankfully, we both had knobby-tired mountain bikes that could handle the terrain.

Credit: Unsplash

We put one foot in front of another, pedaled ahead onto the path, glanced and smiled at each other, and started racing. After dodging several small rocks and a foot-long sand wash, though, Kev proved to have greater muscle power and arrived at the finish ahead of me.

Still, I had enough endurance—and passion—remaining to continue riding over a few more rough patches, and into some strong headwinds. At one point, the wind kicked up so much dust that Kev and I couldn’t see very well, so we had to put on our sunglasses to protect our eyes.

Even in the less-than-optimal conditions, Kev showed off his cycling skills by performing a few stunts, some of which I could do as well.

A Test of Our Endurance

Once we were two hours into our ride, I remembered that I never ate breakfast, while also realizing that it would take us another two hours to arrive back at our starting point. And while the trees mostly protected us from burns, the sun was still scorching hot.

What’s more, our return route wasn’t the same way we came. Instead, it was much more hilly, which tested our resolve. Some of those hills were difficult for cars to navigate, so you can imagine how difficult it was for us as cyclists.

Credit: Unsplash

Slowly but surely, we lost our endurance. Thankfully, we remembered that winding our way back-and-forth uphill is easier than trying to climb it head-on, which allowed us to make it to the top without falling or getting off our bikes. Basic physics!

Eventually, Kev and I saw our homes off in the distance, and we were thrilled to be so close to a quick meal. Luckily, my partner had already prepared something for us, since she knows that we often come back famished.

We immediately began eating after walking through the door and told her stories of our adventure as we dined.

It’s More Than a Bike

Whenever I ride a bicycle, I smile from ear to ear the entire time. It’s also beneficial in my life, as it helps me reduce stress, keeps me busy during the weekends instead of being idle, and it’s given me more enthusiasm for life—I can push myself more, knowing that a reward awaits if I am strong enough.

Cycling is not just a sport to me, but a passion. It’s taught me a lot already, and I’m sure it holds even more for me more in the future.

I look forward to more cycling experiences!

Brian Otieno is a writer from Kitui County, Kenya, who has a passion for adventure and cycling to unknown places with friends.
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