By Arleigh Jenkins
As humans we try to evolve and become better at everything we do. We strive to earn more money, eat healthier, run faster, talk smarter and all of those things that make us “better” at life.
Within cycling we try to ride more, be faster, have nicer equipment and so on. I’m no different from everyone else. Quickly the heart rate monitor sucks me in, I worry too much about watts and not enough about the ride. The mass media doesn’t help this. Commercials to own Lance’s bike, gizmos that can track every piece of your body and bike from your speed, cadence, wattage, heart rate, calories burned, calories consumed… do you get my point yet?
If you can think of it, there probably is an app for it. We want carbon, we want to be faster, we want to be efficient and yet, in the middle of it all, we lose ourselves.
During the time we are trying to keep up with the “Jones” we lose who we are and why we are doing it. Our children are asking for $600 Apple products for their Christmas gifts and we personally crave that $2000 wheel set that will save 45 seconds off our next bike split. We are no longer people that ride bikes for pleasure; we are too concerned with being a CYCLIST. Even when we commute by way of bicycle, we are trying to save time and be so over prepared that we take the adventure and fun out of the act itself.
To this day I still remember my first bike. A purple Schwinn from the coolest bike shop I can ever remember going into. That bike took me places, it was my first experience mountain biking through the grass and routes. Around and around I went, never going far but it didn’t matter, as it took me to a place I couldn’t explain. All I needed was a bike, a helmet and my coaster brake to keep me in check.
As we enter the spring season I encourage you to do something for yourself: Go ride.
Forget the wattage tracking GPS watch. Maybe ride the hybrid or mountain bike with flat tires (pump them up before you leave). Take your family, or rent a beach cruiser for your mom, and go picnic in the park four miles away. Make time to teach your child how to ride without training wheels, or take them for their first mountain bike ride. Forget the spandex, forget the gels, forget the cue sheet, but don’t forget your helmet and lights!
Empower yourself to find the adventure that is life.
Arleigh Jenkins is the brains behind Bike Shop Girl: Empowering women and others in cycling. She’s a bike rider, a bike racer and a bike mechanic that is a believer in bikes and where they can take you.