A long-time love of two wheels
Or how I fell off a mountain and fell in love with road cycling.
I’ve always ridden a bike. My memories of cycling go back as far back as, well, my memory. From my very first tiny red tricycle and the perils of loosing the training wheels on a dirt rode, to the mint green-white-speckled beauty that was my ticket to freedom during high school, that is what cycling has always meant to me. Freedom.
I’ve been an exploratory biker through the years. There were the scrappy purple and yellow hand painted bikes from the bike share program at my university. There was the 1980’s vintage BMX named The Predator, then a shiny new blue BMX with pegs I used to carry friends when I was living in japan. I had what is affectionately called a mamcheriin japan (old lady bike with a shopping basket), a children’s bike called the pink lipstick (those were the iconic t-shirt days), a 70’s Raleigh, an 80’s rejigged fixed gear (the Miyata) and my current love, a black and white road bike.
Though I would be on my bike roaming the back country roads in summer for hours as a teenager, it was only in the past few years that I started to go on those longer rides again.
Though those long rides are the best part of my day now, they returned to my life as the result of tragedy.
A few years ago a rock climbing accident left me in pretty rough shape. Two plates and 13 pins in my right ankle kept me off my feet for four months. Though I was lucky to come out of the accident as well as I did, the loss of my independence and the ability to do the things I loved was hard. One of the first things I could do was ride a bike. Even when the pain of walking was too much to bear, cycling was manageable. It was just as I was starting to commute again, that my hipster approved, vintage single speed got a crack in it’s frame that couldn’t be repaired. I was looking for a new sport to take the place of climbing, as I was months out from being able to do that again, and had my eye on my first ever sprint triathalon as a recovery goal in the fall. The timing was right so I tentatively got a road bike, unsure if cycling as a sport rather than transportation was going to be something I would even like. Looking back that hesitation seems silly. Hindsight is alway 20/20 isn’t it? One year later, after another surgery on the same leg for my knee and ankle, cycling was there again returning me to health.
Long solo rides have become my solace from the busy day, my therapy, my time to think, to plan, to dream. Rides with friends have become my favourite part of my social calendar and looked forward to more than any party. Once again, cycling is freedom.
I’m really happy to be able to give back to the sport that has given me so much. That is why I started Forward. To create something that cyclists can enjoy and feel good about as they fly down or grind up hills and to give back to the world through our partnership with charities like Bikes Without Borders.
Why do you ride? We all have a story. What’s yours?