by Jack Stone
Learn how bicycling can treat you to life's greatest emotions.
|Today, find out who you are by challenging yourself with a familiar childhood activity again for the first time. Ride a bicycle. Why? For the spandex, of course! Ok, maybe not, but you should try riding again for the thrill, the challenge, and the sense of achievement that are known in few other sports or any other endeavor, for that matter. And, most people already know how to ride. So, there's really no excuse for not trying.
I just finished reading an account of Robert Falcon Scott's failed trip to the South Pole. In 1912, he and four other men died on their return from the pole. His sacrifice, leadership, and achievement are legend. He led his men in a race to the pole, but the weather combined with existing severe conditions turned against him after he made it. Unfortunately, he had come in second place. Roald Amundsen had beaten him a few days earlier. Scott and his men starved to death on a snowy plain eleven miles from a food depot on their way home.
What does Scott have to do with cycling? Suffering, achievement, camaraderie, adventure, and defeat. These things gnaw at the core of those who strive to make a difference.
Cycling will mean suffering. You will face your physical limits. Sweat will pour from your brow, your heart will want to burst from your chest, and fire will burn in your legs as you head up endless hills. You will face the question: Quit or keep going?
While riding in a group, you will know camaraderie. There is no greater sport for encouragement and affection. Regardless of whether you are the best or the worst, there will be someone with a kind word urging you onward, no one wanting you to fail.
There's a sense of achievement. Ask anyone who has ridden a century, a 100 mile ride, and they will tell you they count it among their life's greatest accomplishments. To the uninitiated, it sounds daunting. It is. When you done it, however, the personal satisfaction is unparalleled, you knowing that you've exceeded your wildest dreams of physical endurance.
Finally, there is adventure. Pedaling over mountain passes, alongside rivers, and around lakes, where you can hear the gurgling water, the birds, and the bees. You see the road, smell the outdoors, and come to know nature as our forefathers and adventurers did as they crossed our land in a less hurried time.
Romanticized? Try it and find out. If nothing else, you'll enjoy the spandex.