I’ll just come out and say it. One of my goals for 2013 is to bike 10,000 miles before this year comes to an end, which is almost double the distance of what I rode in 2012. Tommy Godwin, an English cyclist rode 75,065 miles in 1939, so I don’t think my goal is impossible. Of course, I’m no record-breaking Tommy Godwin, but I am — like him — a cyclist passionate about riding bikes.
Comically, some of those around me question such a goal. If you had approached and asked me two years ago what word would best describe me, ‘cyclist’ would have been the last answer I would have given. Back then, never in my wildest dream would I have imagined identifying myself as a cyclist, let alone riding in tight spandex, climbing up the freezing mountains of Santa Monica or the hills of Palos Verdes with other cyclists at seven in the morning on a Sunday. But here I am today, doing just that.
What in the world happened?
Well, what happened was I put my legs over a bike, rode it, and became addicted – badly.
Maybe it was the natural high from my body releasing endorphins during rides, the loving and supportive members of the cycling community whom I’ve come to respect and love, or the growing appreciation I now had for the beautiful culture behind cycling that had me addicted. Whatever it was, I was hooked.
Hooked to the point where I found myself feeling irritable and agitated when I was unable to ride – loathing at the thought of going even a day without being on the bike. Hooked also to the point where the first thought that entered my head shortly after waking up was: a bike ride sounds good this morning.
It was a serious love affair with the bicycle.
Never has such an addiction been so consuming of my life, yet at the same time, extremely rewarding. They say too much of anything is bad for you, but nope, they couldn’t be more wrong. Long countless hours on the saddle has made me a healthier person, physically and mentally, and I feel a slew amount better inside and out because of it. My mind is clearer, I feel energetic and I definitely find myself smiling a whole lot more at the world.
In addition to the positive impacts it has had on my health, cycling has significantly improved my social life as well. Cycling has introduced me to some of the most talented and amazing folks I have ever met in my life, and I truly feel as if they’ll all be a part of my life for a very long time. At times, they almost feel like a second family. Truth be told, I was never the best at making new friends, but through riding, it became easier to connect with those that also had a passion for cycling.
Making new friends was as simple as saying “Hi! Cool bike! Do you ride a lot?”
When I take a look back, I can truly see how cycling has made my life these past two years a more positive and enriching experience, and I know it will continue to do so into the future. I feel my journey into the world of cycling has just begun, and I sense there will be more rewards for me to reap in the adventures that lie ahead for the year 2013.
So here’s a toast to 2013, and hopes that I complete my 10,000 miles goal on the bike. And, if any readers have any bike related goals this year as well, feel free to share. Let the fun of the new year begin!