Friday Group Ride #198

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I’d like to get my mother a bike this year. The snow on the ground and the smallness of my parents’ condominium make it an impractical Christmas gift, but maybe in the spring. She is 70 now and can see that the exercise and mobility it might giver her could well see her to 80. I’m thinking a step-through.

I bought my oldest son a bike before he was ready to ride. I was so excited to reenact the wheels-in-front-of-tree joy of my own childhood, that I set myself up for the disappointment of watching him tear wrapping paper to shreds in the corner, oblivious to the gift, oblivious to the moment. It is, apparently, the thought that counts, so best have some (thoughts) before giving gifts.

But then, of all the people I could give a bike to, or more accurately, give cycling to, my wife is at the very top of the list. I’ve given her bikes, a commuter I built her when we were in college, a mountain bike in the ’90s, a road bike a few years back. If I’m honest, those were gifts to myself, or maybe viewed in a kinder light, wishes that I could share this thing that I love so dearly with someone I love so dearly. She never really rode any of them. She is not a cyclist.

It’s easy to give someone a bike. It’s harder to give them cycling, to help them to connect to that feeling of freedom, joy, exploration, speed, solitude, connection, utility that keeps us all in the saddle. Nonetheless, I will keep trying.

This week’s Group Ride asks, in honor of Christmas, if you could give someone cycling, not a bicycle, but the love of the bicycle and the passion for riding that you have, who would you give it to?

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14 comments

  1. Cameron

    I would give cycling to those out there that always say that you are so hardcore and crazy. Its not about being hardcore, its about riding for 100 miles because of the beauty of what you get to see in that time, how you push your body to limits you didn’t think it could go, feeling free in the middle of no-where, pulling out that snickers that is melted in your pocket, being done and wiping the sweat out of your eyes and looking at that two wheeled wonder and saying thank you.

  2. JPrumm

    would give the gist of cycling to my wife. We have been together almost 30 years and it has never been an interest of hers. She has been to a lot of races and is willing to watch me race but still not much interest in cycling. It would be nice to at least go on causal rides with her.

  3. Aaron

    I would give the gift of cycling to the likes of Rush Limbaugh & his ilk. He needs it. We need it. He would love it. He would become addicted to it, and we would all be better off for him discussing the merits of cycling instead of what passes the muster for quality conversation in America. In fact, let’s not stop there. Let’s give cycling to all the politicians, lobbyists, and political talking heads that squeeze the air out of public conversation and leave no room for honest dialog and discourse.

    Too boot, I’d give 20 bucks to see Anderson Cooper ride a bicycle into the next Hurricane Sandy. It’s very easy to espouse an opinion ensconced in comfort of the lavish studios and salaries these talking heads are paid. On a bicycle, at 16-22 MPH, into a headwind, at 38 degrees F, opinions better be worth saying, or they won’t/don’t get said. Moreover, they are not heard if you get dropped.

    Want to reach my ears? Get on a bike and keep up. Then you have a full hour of my attention – or three…And, you better be willing to listen to my two cents b/c I don’t think I’ve been on a group ride where the cyclist pumping out and pimping propaganda doesn’t get an earful of expletives and some hearty laughter during the ride and after over a post ride beer.

    All that aside, I’m actually giving the gift of cycling to my spouse. After putting about some miles on my new Anderson Custom Bicycle (and I would commend Dave Anderson to your Torchbearers series) in early March, I gave my honey a spot in the queue and hopefully the build will happen some time this spring, which covers at least two birthdays and one Christmas of giving, which as the author points out, is really a gift for me, as I anticipate many swift miles together upon receipt of the ACB.

    Cheers and happy holidays all!

  4. Mike C

    I would give the gift to my former GF who is someone that is always doing things for others and rarely takes time or money to do something for herself. She smiles even when when things aren’t going well for her and never had an unkind word to say about anyone

  5. Margaret

    I would give cycling to the foster kids I’ve met and had the pleasure to work with. Some of them have so much energy and few places to spend it constructively.
    Bikes, helmets and reasonably safe places to ride them.

  6. Girl

    To my father, I am giving every cycling thing he has put on his list, this year. I am hoping to fan the spark of interest he has shown, recently.

    To my spouse, I wish I could reignite the passion he once had for cycling. Too many encounters with dangerous (and evil) drivers has soured him on the experience. Alas, I often ride alone. The tandem collects dust.

    But this time of year is about hope, so I will keep hoping!

  7. Peter Leach

    Like others before me, I’d give the gift of cycling to my wife.
    I’ve given her a bike.
    I’ve given her a helmet – and glasses and clothing.
    Now I’d like to give encouragement to help bridge the ‘non-cyclist’ gap.

  8. Bikelink

    Of course to family members like others. But really, to those drivers stuck in their cars honking at me for existing. I know they honk just as much at other cars than they do at me, and are just unhappy. So…perhaps if they got out and rode some they would smile when they see a cyclist and their lives (and ours) would be a little better.

  9. Les.B.

    I started cycling only about 5 years ago. I would like to go into the past to 40 years ago and give cycling to the 30-year old me.

    A selfish wish, but then I would share cycling with many people over all those years.

  10. TominAlbany

    Bill.

    He’s my best friend from high school – that time when everyone years for FOUR wheels and the freedom and independence that brings. I didn’t share my early years with him, having met in high school. I learned in my 30s that Bill had never learned to ride a bicycle!

    NEVER LEARNED TO RIDE A BICYCLE!!!

    I’m still flabbeghasted when I think of it!

    We’re in our late 40s now and he could stand to lose some weight and he’s got a barking knee that prevents him from jogging and a number of other activities. He lives in Groton, CT so, I KNOW there is some great riding in his neighborhood.

    I’d love for him to learn to ride and then get hooked the same way I did 30 something years ago…

  11. Dan R

    I wish that my young children continue to ride and to enjoy my lifelong affair with cycling. I received the gift of cycling from my father. I still fondly recall that first push out of the driveway aboard my Schwinn. Over five decades later, my father remains my inspiration. At age 97, he still rides regularly; today, he’s watching the snow fall outside as he pedals inside on his trainer. May we all be as blessed with my father’s good health and enduring enthusiasm for the sport.

  12. christopheru

    My daughter. She wants to ride right now, but she wants to ride because it would make me happy. That is not the right reason to ride. We always though, have a great time when we get out on two wheels – she is a natural.

    I look forward to the day when she comes up to me, ready to leave, and says, “Hey dad, lets go riding!”

    I might just shed a little tear of joy.

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