My 7-year-old, a very reluctant cyclist who INSISTED on training wheels until I finally pulled them off and stashed them in the garage, learned to ride his bike. To see him riding away from the house, up the street (yes, with his shoe untied), a look of intense shock and delight on his face, left his father weak-kneed and confused. I would almost equate it to the birth of our oldest son, whose arrival stirred awe and incredulity somewhere deep in my brain. You know these things are going to happen, but seeing them is still somehow incongruous with your sense of reality.
This coincided with the Giro, and thinking about thinking about the Giro, like maybe I’m just over the cynicism that slaked my interest in watching pro races. Tactics and performances lit up my mind. I was excited. I thought about visiting my friend Felipe in Torino next summer. I daydreamed about climbing narrow roads through small villages.
Then I wrapped up a new build project, a dirt road bike with disc brakes. For a while, it was all I could think about. Which disc brakes to get, hydraulic or mechanical, where to route the cables, what saddle, what wheels, just the sort of obsessive, every-decision-is-important project I love, except that I also hate that inescapable feeling that I might make the wrong calls, which, of course, drags the project out even longer…and maybe makes it more fun.
Then the other day I had a transcendent trail ride. I don’t ride mountain bikes that much, which entirely explains why I so seldom feel at home on the trail, and yet I met some friends for a spin in our local trail system and some combination of fitness, caffeine and the aligning of the planets gave me that flow that all mountain bikers crave, the first time I’d had it in a few years.
My passion for the bike ebbs and flows. What I sometimes do by rote, leg over top tube, clipped in, pedals turning over, can quite unexpectedly be illuminated by event or happenstance. And then I’m back in love. I find myself cleaning my drive-train when I ought to be going to bed. I cheerfully set my alarm for rides I might otherwise dread.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what are YOU thinking about right now in your cycling life? What do you really care about? What’s lighting up your rides? Or are you just turning the pedals over? Are you bored?