Friday Group Ride #175

Finish Line In

Our leader for the Friday Group Ride, Robot, is away on a badly needed vacation, so instead of just sitting in, I’m stepping in to make sure this ride rolls out as planned.

For the last few days I’ve been in Copper Mountain, Colorado, attending the introduction of the 2014 product line for Specialized. I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to the latest and greatest in road products, none of which I’m allowed to discuss until next week when our embargo ends. Honestly, I don’t get invited to these events very often, but when I do, it feels a bit like visiting Santa’s workshop.

The interesting thing about visiting the launch of an entire model year, rather than a single product, is that I’m being exposed to bikes and products that aren’t normally part of what I write about. There were plenty of times in the past that I had a chance to be exposed to stuff outside my central interests, and I passed on them. Just why, I can no longer say.

With so many bikes out there, so many styles of riding and with a son for whom the world is a big unfolding adventure, I’ve begun thinking about what cycling will be for him. I’m not speaking of the Deuce; the lengths brothers will go to differentiate, he could wind up completely bookish. That’s because his brother Philip, also known as Mini-Shred, clearly loves bicycles. My choices in cycling are unlikely to be his choices.

People like to say cycling is an aspirational sport. By this we generally mean that it gives us a way to aspire to greater fitness, the better you. But the presence of my children in my life has changed my ideas about aspiration. I’m beginning to see things through the lens of what Mini-Shred’s enjoyment will be. As a result, it’s given me a fresh lease on what it means to be a cyclist. I love bikes, full stop. The future is likely to include some types of bikes I didn’t used to ride, if my near-religious experience on a six-inch travel bike yesterday is any indication.

All things being equal, we’d all like to be faster. That’s an easy aspiration to name. Today’s question takes that ideal in a different direction: What do you aspire to as a cyclist? Is it commuting by bike more? Is it ‘cross racing? Is it your first enduro? Do tell.


Image: Ian McLagan


  1. Bart

    There are two things I’m aspiring to in the next 12 months.

    1) Find time in my schedule to get in one long(ish) ride a week. Currently I’m limited to commuting and I miss rides of 20+ miles. I realize 20 miles isn’t long for most people reading this, but at this point my longest ride is about 11 miles when I go the long way to work. Time is the limiting factor these days.

    2) Get a fat bike ( for winter commuting. I’ve been commuting the last 10 winters on old 26″ mountain bikes. I’ve seen the fat bikes start to show up and I think it would make the slog through the snow a lot more fun and safer.

  2. Tom in albany

    I’m 48 and have never pinned on a number. My races have been confined to the friendly confrontations to the town line, sign, top of the hill, or the country store – all vs. my friends/clubbies. I don’t expect to win anything. I aspire to race and see what it is like. I’m a commute/roadie primarily. However, my race preference, based on zero knowledge, is either CX or a MTB race. I have no idea how enduro is defined. But, I’ve always been an all-trails kinda guy. Ups. Downs. Overs. Arounds.

    Either way. That’s what I aspire to. Now if I could just find the time…
    ..and the nerve..

  3. MattC

    I aspire to stop the slow downward spiral of my cycling-fitness (I turned 50 over TWO years ago). I know it’s possible…my big brother is in the best cycling-shape of his LIFE, and still getting stronger. Whether it’s time, weather (or more truthfully, lame excuses) that are keeping me from putting in the saddle time I can’t say for sure, I just know that I MUST do better. Saying it out loud is a good first step. #2 is to follow thru, which is a work in progress.

  4. Peter lin

    I aspire to ride a century when I turn 100. With persistence, consistency and patience, I hope to live a long healthy life and achieve this goal.

  5. Quentin

    I aspire to do a big tour with my family when my kids are a little older, but really I’d be happy just to see my kids continue to show an interest in doing any kind of cycling with me. My kids have very different personalities, but with one having a great interest in the outdoors and the other being a natural athlete, I think I see a potential future of cycling with both of them, possibly in very different ways.

  6. Full Monte

    John Irving wrote the key to success is to get obsessed, stay obsessed.

    Perhaps I’m a bit more ADD than OCD, as I have a tendency to float from bit to bit. As my shrink wife will often point out, my interests run blue flame hot, then cool as I leap into a new obsession. Lots of stuff pulls at me: outdoor adventure interests, music performance, writing, business….

    Sometimes, my get-obsessed-stay-obsessed cycling obsession wanes. It did once for, carry the one, 18 years. Years I want back, if only so I could have ridden through them on a bike.

    So I aspire to keep the commitment, the obsession, the priority, the passion of and for the bike and riding. To never forget the joys cycling brings me – the sense of accomplishment, camaraderie, adventure.

  7. Sam Findley

    My aspiration: work/bike/farm/family balance. there’s got to be a way I can keep this farm roling, work a full-time job, be a good father to my daughter, and ride 200 miles/week, right? Sigh. And I’ve already had to give up rock-climbing and motorcycles. Life is so hard…

  8. Scott

    Hey Padraig, great to meet you, have a good time in Denver, will be sure to let you know when I put out the video – next week naturally… As for aspiration in cycling? To spread the good word of course! Scott

  9. Margaret Smiddy

    The Belgian Waffle ride. It looks pretty challenging and it’s good to do something that’s beyond one’s current level.

  10. Patrick O'Brien

    1. Ride in one mountain bike race and finish it.

    2. Go on one multi-day tour.

    3. Have a conversation with a Mad Dog about politics and dopers.

  11. Adam

    I have just crossed off one of my aspirations today, riding a fully decked out full suspension bump defying mountain bike at Whistler bike park. Of course the next aspiration is to move on to the bigger faster lines and just generally have a ridiculously awesome time.

    Main aspiration: just keep riding.

  12. Patrick O'Brien

    One more if I may. Ride with my wife in October to celebrate her birthday by riding her age. I will just say it’s over 50.

  13. Randall

    Cross in the winter, for me, has the banter and shenanigans that the road can lack. I entered one race last year and had a mechanical. This year, I’m going to finish a race!

  14. armybikerider

    My aspiration is to keep it fun. It’s easy to get caught up in buying increasingly expensive gadgets and gear, be it the latest and greatest GPS/computer, or wheel set or frame, or to get too serious about interval training or posting rides on some sort of electronic bragging sheet. I’m retiring next year from the military at 53 and my other aspiration is to keep riding and increase my miles (5,700 yearly average) while still keeping it fun.

  15. 222

    In my own mind I was fast at one point but life changes things. I no longer aspire to log thousands and thousands of miles each year or win a road race. I now aspire to slow down and enjoy the ride wherever it takes and however long it takes. I want to see my children learn to ride and tackle a CX kiddie race, minus the beer handups of course. I want to see the neighboring counties before they are developed away. Most of all I aspire to K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid) and have fun.

  16. Steve Bauer

    The joy of riding for me is the vortex of speed, wind, flora, fauna, scenery, and communion with fellow disciples of the two wheeled life. I aspire to more quality time on the bike with my pack…

  17. PMAC

    Ride fast again, ride more often, even though my body doesn’t feel fast some days.

    Build a pump track in my back lot to share with my son who is transitioning to two wheels.

    Continue to ride year-round.

    Think of ways to inspire others to ride and enhance the presence of cycling in my community. This is no short order, as the majority of folks in my community (in SE Michigan) are addicted to burning fossil fuels in REALLY BIG VEHICLES.

    Use cycling events to hook up with old friends, as often as humanly possible.


  18. jerry z

    I was just sharing my aspiration with my daughter last night. Coast to coast. You only live once (sorry reincarnationists) . Also an autumn ride through New England & a ride around Ireland would amaze. Did I say I live in Florida, coast to coast = Gulf to ocean. Ride til I die, even if that means going back to a trike.

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