It’s quite a leap from the passing of an iconic musician to the urge to ride a bike, but I’m going to jump with both feet and see where I land.
I rode last night, as I’m trying to do every Thursday night, regardless of plan or weather. It was one of those magical night rides, the air warm, the moon full. We were short-sleeved and gloveless for the first time, and we pedaled not quite effortlessly, but far more fluidly and comfortably than we had a long time. We went “fast,” where fast means faster than last week.
We are way behind, my companions and I, not nearly as fit as the untethered youngsters around us who reel off centuries and double metrics for fun on Saturdays before not mowing lawns or taking kids to baseball practice.
I am taking inspiration from those young guys and their exploits. I’m not there, but I know I can get there. I know I have those hundreds of miles in my legs still, if only I chase after them on a Thursday night.
I am taking inspiration also from the slower set I ride with. They show up. I show up. We all want to be fitter. We all want to get to that effortless place where you can ride as much as you want without thinking too hard about it, without limping up the stairs afterwards.
Inspiration and motivation are priceless, and they can come from anywhere. For every ride, I’ve embarked on after watching a replay of Paris-Roubaix from yesteryear, there are dozens more motivated by eager friends or by the storm in my mind that only settles under the burden of hard physical work. Sometimes I can be inspired by beautiful weather. Sometimes I can be inspired by awful weather.
Yesterday an iconic musician passed away, as they do, and that’s what got me thinking about inspiration. This particular musician lived his life in his own way, in a style entirely of his own creation, and whether you liked the music or not, I think the message was to do the same. For me that means to ride hard, to not give up on my own fitness, to never take myself too seriously, to make room for everyone else’s style, their choices, and their identities.
This week’s Group Ride asks, what’s pushing you onto or off of the saddle right now? Where is today’s inspiration coming from? Inside the cyclo-verse? Or outside? If you’re lacking, where do you think you’re going to find it again?