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Why DO we ride?

IBill Koehler’m sure most of you have flipped thru the pages of Bicycling magazine and seen the monthly “Why I Ride” segment. Readers send in their short little snipets, which usually include such feel-good words as “freedom” or “cleansing.” Well that’s all great, but it’s much more complicated than that, isn’t it? It’s hard to sum-up in a short paragraph why this sport/hobby/passion consumes us. And let’s face it, if you’re taking time out of your busy day to read this obscure blog post, then you ARE consumed.

There are many different types of cyclists, as well as forms of cycling. Be it racing (road, mountain, tri or ‘cross), fitness (solo or group), touring (off-road, on-road), there are numerous categories and sub-categories within the sport. And new ones seem to come along all the time (winter bikes, gravel riding, adventure races, etc.) To keep the theme, let’s viualize all of these various disciplines as spokes on a wheel (I’m visualizing an ENVE SES 6.7 carbon clincher, but that’s just me). But what hooks us on this sport? What’s at the center of all things cycling that keeps us coming back for more? WHAT IS THE HUB OF THE WHEEL?

In my case, it’s an obsession. I just love riding. Ever since I first learned on my older sister’s hand-me-down, thru a progression of Schwinns, my college Bianchi, first Ross mountain bike and on down to the fancy-schmanzy bikes we ride now, I JUST LOVE RIDING. And we all have favorite rides that are forever etched in our minds. Jonathan Page, after winning the National Cyclocross title in Madison last month, called it a “magical” day on the bike. Those are no-brainers. It’s easy to love riding on those magical days. But some rides are just plain miserable, aren’t they? Why do we go out on those rainy, cold, windy days when it’s obvious that we’ll just SUFFER?

And that brings me to the hub, the center of the wheel, the reason we ride. It’s those magical “moments.” They happen on EVERY ride. They can be few and far between on those awful days, or strung together completely on the epic ones. But we KNOW they’re coming. And that’s why we ride……

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