So, in doing my weekly (or so) clean out of my Yahoo email (yeah I suck and cleaning it out) I saw one titled: “Why I Ride Wednesdays”. This is an email from Reach the Beach century ride organizers helping to get people to sign up for, or to donate to the ride. (I am riding at the end of September from Olympia to the beach in Westport. WA. )
After reading it I decided it was time for this post. Not to ask for donations (I am good!) but to tell people why I ride….
First off let’s do the obvious: Fitness
I work in an office where, at 53, I am above the age average of the rest of the employees at the Mighty P. Its an insurance company, and with few exceptions, the jobs are sedentary and in cubicles. (Though I AM lucky enough to have a killer view!)
For some reason, this company also likes to reward us with food. Donuts, chocolate, and all things not so healthy. The food, combined with the sitting, would make it easy for me to weigh ENTIRELY too much! (As it is I am NOT happy with my current 156 lbs!) Cranking out the miles each month, anywhere from 300 – 600 of those miles, helps make up for all the sitting and eating!
Then there is traffic!
I love the Pacific Northwest. Always have. But for the luva gawd traffic has finally hit the point where it is even driving me nuts! There was a time I was happy to drive 26 miles each way to work from Federal Way to Seattle. Traffic wasn’t great, but overall it wasn’t terrible. I didn’t mind sitting and barely moving at times.
Now either I have gotten older and less patient (shocking I know) or traffic has gotten much worse (and it has!) or both!! But I hate driving the less than 12 miles to the downtown office now. Plus, with the move of our office to the Lake view property
It can take (NO exaggeration here) an hour to get from the parking garage to the freeway, just to spend 40 minutes going the 12 miles home. (Google the Mercer Mess, I am serious here)
But on a bike, I don’t care what traffic is like! My commute is longer, as I take the trail both ways, but I like the extra miles, 17 each way! I can see the cars stopped dead on the freeway, I can hear the horns blaring. Meanwhile I cruise along at 15 mph, a smile on my face and not a care in the world! Hell, at least once a week during the summer I go on 40 – 50 mile jaunt after work just for a combination of exercise and enjoyment!
Added bonus, free parking ANYWHERE you go! Using the bike to go to Seattle saves me $100 in parking PLUS gas savings!
You never know what you will see! I have commented time and again, I am not a racing heads down kinda guy. I love to look around me as I ride. Just last weekend I saw this:
And then there was this
At an average of 13 – 15 mph you can cover a helluva lot of distance in a day. But it also lets you travel slow enough to see everything around you. Birds, boats, planes, cool cars, waves, hell even whales Have been spotted from my bike.
Yep, a lot of this can be seen from a car as well but 1) it is much easier to miss things going 60 mph and 2) it is much harder to find a place to stop to take the picture before you miss it.
The Places I can ride
Lord the whole reason for the Moutainstroh blog was to share my adventures. In the almost 30,000 miles of riding I have traveled, the bike as taken me more places than I can share in one post. Just a few are
And the Oregon coast
In fact, just last week I was featured in the Mighty P’s People of the Company post on Instagram and Linkedin. I was asked to give a photo! Of course it had a bike AND the Oregon coast!
But, for as much as the above reasons add to my riding, they aren’t the primary source of the enjoyment. In all honesty, I ride because of the ride.
There is something about being on a bike that takes away all the ills of the world. I have no radio or newsfeed going when I ride. I concentrate on the road and the adventure. Be it the 5 mile commute to the Lynnwood office or a century ride to Sequim and back, I flat don’t care what Trump tweets or North Korea does. I am in my bike zone.
The bike takes me back in time. If I hit a bump right I try to pull up the tire for a wheelie like I did when I was a kid (never did master that!) If there is a bit of debris in the road, I go into slalom mode to go around and through it. On long down hills (say from the top of Chinook pass) I let her buck and bomb down the hill, bellowing out a song as I do. On the bike I am not a crusty curmudgeon yelling at kids on my lawn. I am a young kid, enjoying the freedom of the bike and knowing I can ride anywhere!
Let us not forget the total sensory experience. I know I have talked about this time and again in the past. But bike lets you use ALL your senses. When it rains you feel it!
When you ride in the trees you smell them! I will steal the term Forest bath from my friend Sarah
Traveling by a river, or water falls, you can’t help but hear the water.
And taste. Well hell, that one can be fun. I am sure all cyclists have tasted a bug or two in their day. There there is the taste of the first cool breeze after an all day hot ride. Or, on days like yesterday, when the fires are raging in the cascades, you can taste the smoke!
There is NO better way to experience the world than on the back of a bike.
Then there are the intangibles!
I love the look on the barista’s face when I answer I only had time for 40 miles before my first cup of coffee, or the coworkers reaction when I say I rode 100 miles Saturday for the fun of it. I ride to keep from throttling crazy coworkers or those people at Starbucks who spent 10 minutes in line and don’t know what they want. I ride to get the sexy cyclist tan, and be able to flex my leg muscles at my gorgeous wife.
But above all else, I ride because I love it. After 43 years I found the one type of adventure I excel at. I will never win races, and I don’t want to, but I will ride till I drop and I will ALWAYS have that stupid bike rider grin on my face. The adventures have just begun!
Like the wind folks!