In it we find the solace, the reassurance of the familiar. It is the set of knowns that give our days shape, that let us know the work day comes to an end, that we can relax after dinner and have work that will coax us from bed each morning. But the repetition can become a prison. It’s scrambled eggs for breakfast … for a whole year.

Most of us took up cycling, or kept doing it—keep doing it—as a way to keep the world interesting; maybe not unpredictable, but with a zing of the novel. Moving through the group, shifting from one rear wheel to another, it’s not like yesterday, won’t be quite like this tomorrow.

Yet monotony can emerge in doing the same ride on Tuesday for years on end. You know the turns the way you know where the knives and forks go in the drawer—a right, two lefts, another right—aloud, people might think you were discussing boxing.

There’s an irony in this; cycling is meant to be an antidote to the repetition of the day, to inject something novel into the cycle of our days, and yet riding the same road over and over becomes, for all the freedom it offers, a kind of prison. The question isn’t so much how; the answer is different every day. No, the question is when does the novel become the dull?

It’s a real mystery, how we find one shoal or another after years of open ocean. Even more surprising is how a change as small as riding different tires or wheels may give a single road a fresh complexion.

The questions we ask, the expectations we set, tell us, tell the world, who we are. Sometimes the goal helps define the journey.

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  1. Ron

    Excellent writing! I love this. With a 17 month old on my hands, free minutes are scare. 5 hour road rides? Not happening. That’s okay. I’m thankful I can still commute 35 minutes each way to work five days a week. Soccer twice a week. A road ride, a cross loop when I can manage it. I love a routine, but yep, gotta keep things fresh by always doing new things.

    When riding loses its fun, I do something new with it. Head off road. Commute on a road bike rather than a commuter. Now I get to bike my son to “school” in a trailer twice a week. He loves it!

  2. Pat O'Brien

    With the change of seasons and weather the sights, sounds, and smells on my favorite rides are constantly changing. The rides are always different although the route might be the same. Throw in some exploring of connecting routes or trails, and it never gets old to me. That’s why they are my favorites.

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