Together, We Ride
Our mountain bikes whisk along a strip of trail, the gravel underneath each tire sizzling like bacon. As we force the pebbles aside, they release wisps of dirt that amalgamate into a hazy cloud, depositing grains between our teeth.
The ribbon we traverse is flanked on each side by flowing fields of tall, mid-autumn-dried grass, which stretch until terminating at the rocky surge of Denver’s western foothills.
Each slope and ridge glows in the mid-morning sun, warming our skin. The wind numbs our cheeks, and the high altitude leaves us breathless, causing our hearts to pump overtime.
With enough distance between us now, I skid to a stop, pull my phone from my pocket, and snap a picture of the rider behind me.
Once we’re done, I’ll relish these frozen-in-time mini-stories. The more candid, the better—whether cresting the top of a challenging climb, traversing a flow section, or coasting the last turn of a descent, with an ear-to-ear smile, it’s a gift for which I’m always grateful to be present.
Pictures or not, there’s a special connection formed when sharing the bliss of cycling. Partnering with a rider as they show up, take ownership, and connect with themselves and their immediate environment in new ways.
Together, we sit with our discomfort, push one another to outperform ourselves, and share in our achievements—ones for which we often sacrifice not just blood, sweat, tears, but also a great deal of time.
After all, it’s a bit nutty that we willingly and repeatedly push ourselves to the limit, only so we can learn how to maximize our discomfort to an even higher degree the next time we hop on the saddle.
In that pain, though, we share raw clarity about our capabilities. We experience the same disappointments when we don’t live up to our expectations, the same joys when overcoming our struggles, and exhilaration when achieving milestones.
We also share in our stories, which connect us on a deeper, more profound level, and help us recognize our shared humanity.
So, here’s what I want to know: What’s your story? What brought you to cycling? What impact has it had on your life?
Leave your comment below, and shine your unique “light” on the beautiful world of the bicycle!
When I was nine years old, my bike was freedom. Alone or with friends I could go to the edges of my known world. The power to move myself through space to explore and experience inspired me. When I get on my bike today, over 50 years later, I still feel like a kid on the first day of summer vacation!