My cycling was different ten years ago. That is not, in and of itself, much of a revelation, things change, trends come and go. But I was reflecting this morning (on my ride into work) on how differently I connect to cycling as a sport than I did then.
For starters, I followed pro cycling obsessively then, reading the news daily, watching race highlights, dialing up pirate web broadcasts, recording Tour stages and spending whole evenings on them. The thing is I was inspired by the racing. I would go to bed excited to ride the next morning, even if only the few miles to work. I’ve written a lot about the way pro cycling fell off my radar, the way it ultimately failed us all, so I won’t rehash that now. Suffice it to say, I was disillusioned before the Reasoned Decision, and reading the paperwork more or less closed the case for me.
And then there were the magazines and blogs. I read Belgium Knee Warmers, refreshing my browser to make sure there wasn’t a new post. I read the old Masi Guy blog, and the Swobo blog back when Stevil Kinevil was writing it. I read all the magazines I could get my hand, even making regular stops at Out of Town News in Harvard Square to get the Euro journals.
I don’t do much of any of that anymore, but still I ride. Why?
Back then, I had fewer friends who rode bikes. I was the office weirdo. I was the guy out in all the weather, tilting at windmills. Now I am surrounded by people who ride, and I find all that motivation I got from the Euro peloton and reading old copies of Sam Abt stories now comes from the exploits of the very real people pedaling alongside me. I’d hesitate to say that my connections to cycling are better now (nor worse). Things change. They are what they are, and I have been very lucky to work in the industry and learn so much about the sport I love. It’s just different now.
This week’s Group Ride asks, how do you connect to cycling? Is it different than 10 years ago? 20 years ago? Or, are you the same cyclist, mentally anyway, that you used to be?