Too often, the bicycle becomes a means to an end. We use them to stay fit, pedaling our way to healthier limbs, lungs and hearts. We compete either for a victorious win or to support a cause. Even the need to get from place to place gives us an excuse to use our bicycles. But that may not be why we started to ride in the first place.
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”
John F. Kennedy, U.S. president
Riding offers something to our spirit, something we might have felt when we initially started to ride as adults. The simplicity, the thermos-dynamics, the reminiscent recapturing of childhood, the thrill of the downhill pull, these sensations are the very embodiment of freedom.
“Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”
H.G. Wells, novelist
As you reflect on the independence our country enjoys this 4th of July weekend, consider committing your next ride to freedom. Unplug that GPS, leave the calorie or mile counter at home, and let the wind lead you. Choose a favorite route, someplace new, or a trail that allows you to enjoy beautiful nature- or cityscapes. Bask in the joy of riding. Make frequent stops, breathe deeply, and take in the view. Scream “wee” when zipping down a hill like you did as a kid if that will rekindle the fun aspects of riding for you.