Last month in Bicycling Magazine they list a hundred and eight Rights of Passage, or as they put it "Falling in puppy love, graduating high school, the birth of your child–nothing compared with your first case of road rash and these 108 other momentous occasions in the life of a cyclist." I like to think of them as reasons why we ride our bike. In the list were some wonderful reasons, and many I smiled at because of how close to home they hit. Not listed among them was "just because we can".
Last Friday my brother died from cancer, but mostly from treating his body like a hazmat site for the past 40 years. I don't remember him ever riding a bike, I'm pretty certain he never did -- maybe, just maybe, it would have made a difference. Who knows?
That same morning Michael Boehme, a friend in California, was struck by a car from behind while out for a ride. After a serious scare and visit to the ICU he is now home and it recovering without lingering difficulties we hope. Get well Mike, Elkhorn is only 6 months away!
Today I went for a ride under glorious cloudless blue sky, warm sun mixing with bone chilling late fall wind, and I chose every road for it's absence of cars and people - 50ish miles of solitude - the beauty of Portland, you can get away with that here. I went for a ride because it was gorgeous out and that's why I took this year off, but also to remember I ride my bike because I can. Most of the time I rode easy, soaking up the day. On occasion I launched up a short hill just to feel my body work - heart pound, lungs limit, legs ache. I stopped to watch a kestrel hunting successfully in a pasture and I chose a two and a half mile descent home just for the speed and serpentining curves.
I was riding for me. I love to ride my bike - just because I can.