Times like these, home from a fun ride on a gorgeous late summer evening, I realize how many things I love about cycling. How grateful I am for everything it adds to my life, how lucky I am to be able to ride. It can be far too easy to take a strong heart and pain-free joints for granted.
So here are some things about cycling I love, the transcendent parts of riding that make all the boring and painful parts worth it. We’ve all seen lists like this on websites and in cycling magazines. They seem a little too easy, a little clickbaity. Maybe this list will sound like that. I don’t know. All I know is that I mean these things.
Quiet roads along quiet creeks.
The way light from a sinking sun shatters though the treetops, bright but not blinding.
The unspoken agreement to pause a conversation on the descent and resume it seamlessly at the bottom.
Pre-ride panckakes. Post-ride pancakes.
Two-hour loops with a little bit of climbing but not too much, where you get a workout but still feel fresh when you get home.
Swooping through shady spots, feeling the rush of cool air.
Waving at old men on porches who would normally never wave at a man in lyrca, and seeing them smile and wave back.
Talking about rides you’ve done. Planning rides you might never do.
Riding two or three wide in the middle of the road because you know there are never cars on it.
Coming back into town after rush hour.
Seeing the light change to green just as your faux-track stand is about to peter out.
Riding with friends, sometimes.
Riding alone, sometimes.
Discovering a perfect new road.
Forgetting your heart rate strap, and realizing you don’t miss it.
The first pedal stroke. The last pedal stroke.
Pressing “save” on your Garmin.
Realizing a hill wasn’t as steep as you remembered it.
Taking the bike path back to your neighborhood, even though you say you hate maneuvering around pedestrians, because sometimes it’s nice to just ride a bike like a kid would ride a bike.