Monday, August 9, 2010

Cycling Challenges

I really like riding my bike.

I've always enjoyed riding my bike.  I still remember the first time I rode on my own, as my dad let go and I was under my own power for a few brief moments, before crashing to the pavement.  From that ignominious beginning, I love of two wheels grew.  We lived on top of a slight hill, which made riding to school as a 6-year-old fun, but coming back home a bit more challenging.  To my young mind, a bike was an exciting symbol of freedom and speed.

As I got older, a bicycle found another use: basic transportation.  I appreciated the freedom that came with riding my bike to school instead of the dreaded yellow school bus, and continued to do so until I got my drivers license.  I occasionally used my bike to go exploring among the (then desolate) back roads of Allen, Texas.  My bike got a break while in high school, as I preferred gasoline fumes to the fresh air of cycling.

As a missionary, I continued to ride, mainly out of necessity.  Over the course of my two-year mission, I spent seven months assigned to areas where we were left to our bicycles for transportation.  During those seven months, I put over 2700 miles on my bike, including a single day of 70 miles.  Having a companion who enjoyed cycling helped introduce me to cycling as recreation and sport, and I learned a few maintenance tricks along the way.

At college, I was once again car-less, and my trusty Liahona-brand bike, having followed me home from my mission, became my sole transportation link: to class, to family, to church.  Even riding through Utah winters became standard, and discovering the delicacy of riding a two-wheeled vehicle on snow.  While at BYU, I completed my first century, the aptly-named ULCER, and I was hooked.  I few more centuries come before I graduated.

Upon the start of grad school, cycling again took a back seat.  Busy with school and a young family, I found little time for personal pursuits.  It wasn't until a summer internship a couple of years ago, that cycling again became a transportation necessity, and I found the time to ride for recreation as well as transportation.  Purchasing a new bike, and completing another century, put me back in the saddle toward my cycling goals.

These days are better.  Once again, I eschew the bus for my bicycle, doing a ten mile round-trip commute in the course of a typical day.  Even though I travel for work, I still try to find time to cycle.  I can ride twenty-five miles at the drop of a hat, and have found ways to sneak rides in around a busy family, church and school schedule.  I'm hoping to do another century this fall, and may even set some longer-term, and longer-distance, goals.

I really like riding my bike.

1 comment:

Sally said...

I'm impressed! :)