Unlike taking up other hobbies in adulthood, I didn’t approach learning to cycle with any of the hesitation or trepidation that one might, when, say, deciding to learn a new language or attending community college to take a pottery class. Should I do this? Shouldn’t I? Will it be a waste of time? Worth the money? No, none of that.
I have, like everyone else, entertained ideas of taking up various hobbies as I’ve gotten older to counter the vicissitudes of my day-to-day, to offset the hours I spend at work and to break dissatisfying routines – but entirely new activities and sports wouldn’t have been able to give me that socio-pop-cultural sustenance I craved to combat these very 21st century pains in the same way that cycling inherently could.
From my observations and budding experience as a beginner cyclist, I’d suggest that the joy that riding a road bike offers me is not a new or novel experience but instead an evolution of a childhood past time.
Riding a bike is a return to everything good and innocent you love so much about your past and your past-self.
They say that you never forget how to ride a bike, and I guess the same could be said about making like-minded friends and having the thirst for adventure.
But there are other joys too:
My newfound love for the world at 5am could only ever come across as preachy, but so be it. There’s a stillness to be savoured when you wake so early on a Sunday with only one task on your mind. You haven’t got much time before the roads are filled with cars, so I feel urged to get out there, with purpose, and enjoy myself.
Tour de France tours
Following the Tour de France is a dream holiday for many regardless of whether they follow professional cycling or not. The beautiful scenery, the rich culture, sporting history and the fanfare and excitement are incredible draw cards for a beautiful holiday in France. But actually riding, knowing the physical demands, training and technical skill required can make Tour de France tours so much more meaningful.
Cycling isn’t like running. I originally thought (and hoped) it would be. I’d enjoyed regular running until my knee gave out last year, which is why I bought a bike. There are commonalities, but it’s a whole new realm of fitness to explore. Speed, climbs, agility, endurance, gears – it’s not like anything else your body has experienced before.
I used to enjoy the intense level of focus involved in running. My iPod would be set to just one song on repeat and I’d hone in on taking that next step, then the next, then the next, then the next, until I’d realise I’d covered 15 or 16 kilometres after work. Cycling brings me back to that mental state – call it zen, nirvana, whatever. It excites me, inspires me to travel and seek adventure and takes me back to the simplicity I once enjoyed as a kid on a bike with friends.
This post was written with support from Mummu Cycling.