Friday Group Ride #352

Friday Group Ride #352

Maybe I’m parsing it too finely, this thing about motivation and habits and how to orient my life toward cycling more. I am not the most clever, and the challenges of holding down a job, having a happy marriage, and raising decent children, leave me, most of the time, in the lurch.

That’s not a complaint. It’s a good lurch, as lurches go.

I was reading Padraig this week, On the Nature of Ambition, and it struck some deep cords for me. A hard ride is a micro and macro challenge. Fitness, stamina, strength, these are all micro issues. On the day, on the bike, do you have the combination to finish the ride/race in some satisfying way. But then, very quickly, you run into the macro issues, the ontological bits. You ask yourself, “why am I even doing this?”

And of course, there are a million answers. In some ways, every post that’s ever appeared on this site has been an attempt to answer that question.

I have this idea, probably flawed, that if I can orient my ambitions in just the right way, I can unlock more satisfaction in all aspects of my life, of which ‘on the bike’ is an important one. A recent vacation helped me refine a general approach to the year 2017 that is, so far, yielding good results. This new approach is: Do more rad shit.

Like riding plus-size mountain bikes in the Rockies with the nerds in the picture above.

I’m building a new mountain bike with and for my ten-year-old. I’ve asked my wife to pick one fitness-based event for us to do together this year. I’ve researched doable expeditions for the family and committed to some things with friends that I’ve passed on in previous years.

Time is unidirectional. YOLO. Do not go gentle into that good night.

Actually, screw all the platitudes, the reason to do rad shit, which can be defined as anything that opens the mind and/or draws people together, is that it produces the best, happiest kind of life. The bike can be a big part of that, especially if you like bikes and riding them.

This week’s Group Ride asks, in quite possibly a redundant pattern from the last few weeks, what are your ambitions on and off the bike? How do they intersect? What actual plans do you have that match up with your theoretical ambitions?

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8 comments

  1. TomInAlbany

    Only actual plan I’ve made so far. Buy a new bike (1st new since ’01 and first new roadbike since ’98). Ride new bike to my wife’s mother’s house one Friday. It’s 130 miles. My wife and kids will come pick me up on Saturday and drive my sore butt home.

    That said, I like how you’re thinking and how you’re planning. I’m desperate for more time on the bikes. Simultaneously, like you, I’m desperate to do a good job raising my children and staying happily married.

    I like the idea of finding something for my wife and I to do…

  2. Andy

    Happiness. Fulfillment. Balance. Peace.

    Finding the four on the bike, at work, and in life is a relentless pursuit. And, it is when we give up that pursuit, I have found, is when we give up living. Thank you for the Dylan Thomas line as that poem captures everything about passion so effectively and succinctly.

  3. Scott M.

    I recently attained one of the greatest accomplishments in 30 years of cycling.

    As with most ambitions, this one required a significant shift in my mindset. An adjustment to new speeds. A fundamental change in approach.

    While I bought my wife a road bike 10 years ago, her first “ride” ended catastrophically as I had insisted that she clip in and do it right. That “loop” entailed a diminishing half circle as she ingloriously augured in, unable to unclip. Naturally, I checked the status of the bike first which sent a poor message. And the bike gathered dust.

    My epiphany came when, on a group ride, I overheard a buddy providing a running stream of coaching to his girlfriend. “Close the gap, blah blah, Go now! Blah! Don’t. Do!” My god, is that how I sound?

    I realized that, for my wife to appreciate cycling, I had to change. And I needed to change those clipless pedals too. So I committed to not offer unsolicited advice and I put platforms on the cranks. Now, she’s free to enjoy the simple purity of riding. We started with casual loops in the neighborhood. That morphed into a coffee run. Before long, we added trips to explore local trails. Once she realized that cycling burns more calories than walking, she was hooked. Now she wants her pedals back. She’s having fun and she can see progress. Even so, it’s less about ambition and more about enjoyment.

    I still get my fix of commute rides, Tuesday nighters, and weekend centuries. But Sundays belong to Kari! To your question; I plan to ride with her a lot more this year. There are so many places she’s going to love.

  4. James Fitzgerald

    Plan do to something different. I raced on the road every year from 1976 -2014.I was fairly obsessed with it. But in 1998, at the age of 44, and after 23 years of racing, I thought I was done with it. I decided to go try riding in the French Alps as my swan song to serious/obsessive riding. It totally re-energized my interest in riding. I wished that I had gone to Europe in my 20’s and 30’s. I did continue to race, but made sure that I returned every other year to riding in the mountains of Europe. That’s the frequency that works with my happy marriage. So I plan the routes, the hotels, the flights and the crew. I like to plan and having a goal to look forward to.
    I’m a total roadie, but I think it’s time again for something different. Back in1985 I was the first road rep for Specialized in New England, mostly pushing Mountain Bikes. I haven’t owned a mountain bike since then, but I think it’s time for something different to re-energize myself again. That’s my plan.

  5. Tim Guthrie

    My life-cycling goals?

    1-Do some tours this year with 1 or 2 of my kids.

    2-Regain lost fitness after 4.5 years of illness and family drama.

    3- Bike a LOT to maintain sanity.

  6. Carson Stanwood

    “I have this idea, probably flawed, that if I can orient my ambitions in just the right way, I can unlock more satisfaction in all aspects of my life, of which ‘on the bike’ is an important one.”

    This is most definitely not flawed.

  7. Aar

    Lose 105 pounds of which I’ve already lost 40.

    It’s interesting that about 10 years ago, weight loss became one of my cycling goals. Injuries and other forms of “life” made that a yo-yo affair. Ironically, a severe injury that is keeping me off the bike due to slow healing has taught me that moderate exercise is better than vigorous exercise in support of weight loss. So, I’m healing while losing and it’s a good thing. Hours that were spent on the bike and recovering are now spent productively around the house. That gives new meaning to “happy wife, happy life”.

    Can’t wait to hit my goal weight, get healed and back to really riding again!

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