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Friday Poll: so why DO you ride, exactly?(39 posts)

Friday Poll: so why DO you ride, exactly?lonefrontranger
Sep 6, 2002 12:39 PM
Blame it on my co-workers. 3 of us ride, the rest are confirmed couch potatoes. We got into this discussion today. The couch potatoes are convinced we're lunatics, and we three cyclists are convinced they're on the fast track to an early grave.

The three of us go for lunch rides regularly, and all of us look forward to it. Both of my co-workers are pretty casual roadies who ride for fitness reasons. One is a fortysomething runner with bum knees whose kid recently started racing and has dragged Dad down the slippery slope, and one is a sixtysomething guy recovering from bypass surgery. We ride the rural roads and quiet reservoir paths near the office, and somehow manage to talk about everything but work. We comment on prairie dogs, cows, horses, lots of different raptors, rattlesnakes, jackrabbits, deer and sometimes even elk. Our rides are a good way to unwind from job-related stress, and for me it's a good way to re-connect with why I really love the bike in the first place.

I know I race because I am a competitive adrenaline junkie who doesn't mind an occasional pavement-surfing session. But when you buy into the racer mentality, it's easy to get caught up in analysis paralysis (how many, how much, how fast, how hard) and lose the passion. I've burned myself out and "rediscovered" the sport numerous times over the past decade.

What it boils down to is that I love seeing the world with a fresh perspective, outside the bubble at 30kph, in the saddle of a silent, simple, self-sufficient machine.
freedom, exercise, thrills, competition...DougSloan
Sep 6, 2002 12:47 PM
No one reason. I rode as a kid for freedom. It was the fastest way to get around, and get away from home. Later I rode for competition. Sometimes for transportation. At times, solely for exercise. Now, it's a combination of lots of reasons, but pretty much boils down to that fact that it has become part of my essence. I'm a bike rider. I cannot not ride.

My favorite competitions are with myself, though. Nothing better than going faster or further than I have gone before. Watching this year's RAAM on OLN last night got me psyched to do it. I must. I don't know when, but I will. Sure, it's crazy, but some things you just gotta do. Know the feeling?

re: Friday Poll: so why DO you ride, exactly?Dave Hickey
Sep 6, 2002 12:48 PM
I have an obsessive personality, so if it wasn't cycling, I'm sure it would be something much worse. Other than the high cost, it really doesn't have many downsides. That being said, my reasons are:

self esteem
clear my mind
I love tinkering with bikes
being outdoors
Cardio addictionfiltersweep
Sep 6, 2002 12:52 PM
I've never in my life had a runner's high, but I definitely get something from biking. I've always been in very good shape, but I also like staying in shape- hey, we have bodies for a reason?

I live in the midwest where the winters are long and brutal. I lift weights all winter, play outside all summer. I played sports in HS, partied all through college, and needed something a bit healthier to focus my energy on as an adult. I go nuts if I don't do something physical- it is my biggest stress coping mechanism.
1. Endorphin AddictionMXL02
Sep 6, 2002 12:58 PM
2. No better way to see the world at 7 am, except maybe on a boat.
3. I enjoy amazing myself at how much I can endure. As Lance describes, there is something cleansing, spiritually fulfilling about reveling in the suffering...It is not masochism...I don't know how to describe it but I think most cyclists know what I mean. Maybe it is just the endorphin addiction.
A boat at 7am is a good thing.......Dave Hickey
Sep 6, 2002 1:04 PM
I used to race offshore sailboats. Seeing a sunrise in the Caribbean comes pretty close to seeing it on a bike.
Yeah, but it may be difficult to get your heart beating as fast..MXL02
Sep 6, 2002 1:08 PM
unless you are with your spouse/ SO. ;-)
A boat at 7am is a good thing.......Dave Hickey
Sep 6, 2002 1:11 PM
I used to race offshore sailboats. Seeing a sunrise in the Caribbean comes pretty close to seeing it on a bike.
The pain makes you most alive (nm)brider
Sep 6, 2002 1:15 PM
i'm addicted to spandex, freeballing, and dorky socks...curtybirdychopper
Sep 6, 2002 1:21 PM
i actually ride with underwear sometimes b/c i chafe from time to time, ouch.
As with others, no ONE reasonbrider
Sep 6, 2002 1:22 PM
I remember a particular race in Yakima, where I got dropped in the first lap. It started with a short rolling section, then a looooong uphill, then more rollers on a plateau. I got dropped on the plateau. Well, we also had a fantastic downhill going towards the finish. I rode the entire second lap just to be able to do that downhill again.

I seek "flow." I remember a particular ride in Moab -- Poison Spider Mesa, I think it was (off the end of the road that goes by the Slickrock entrance) -- where we chose not to do the descent to the highway, and instead rode back along the mesa back to town. There's a cool section of downhill steps and gaps in the stone. I just got into this groove where I was going along very fast (the guy with the dwonhill rig couldn't keep up) and everything was just flowing and effortless. I seek that feeling constantly.

For self confidence. Racing and training has given me a sense of self-confidence that nothing else has offered me.

Physical fitness. I started out as a runner, then triathlete, then road rider. I've always been into something self-propelled. Cycling fills that need.
Porcupine Rimmr_spin
Sep 6, 2002 1:39 PM
You're probably thinking of the Porcupine Rim trail, which goes past Slickrock. It's the greatest trail in mountain biking. At least the greatest I've ever done. And I know the feeling you got, too.

The first time I did it, I had minimal technical skills and I was scared and tense. But you get to the point where you just say screw it, this isn't so hard, and I'm not getting off anymore! You start plunging down the steps and drop offs, and somehow, you don't die. And when it works once, twice, three times, the tension and fear disappears and the "flow" begins. When you come out the other side, you are no longer afraid of technical trails anymore. And riding up the same old fire roads back home will never be the same.

Poison Spider Mesa is across town and across the river.
Porcupine Rimbrider
Sep 6, 2002 1:58 PM
Thanks. We did both rides, I just got the names mixed up. The last couple miles going up Hurrah Pass was cool too, and I love that stream along the road (big shelf waterfall).
Porcupine Rimirregardless
Sep 6, 2002 3:40 PM
I ride both road and mountain bikes and have not found anything about road riding that comes close to approaching the feeling of descending a highly technical trail like Porcupine Rim on a fully dialed in dualie. Pure nirvana. Full control, but effortless. Like the last skiing or boarding run of the day.
Amasa Back is far better...biknben
Sep 6, 2002 5:07 PM
I've done Purc Rim a few times. That last mile of singletrack just help you to forget how boring most of that trail is. Up until that singletrack it is just a glorified fire road.

For those who like to climb up in order to go down, Amasa back has some great terrain. Uphill technical sections that will take most riders to their limit. Catch the view at the top and head back down. It's much easier to "Flow when you've already seen the trail on the way up. The down side is just as tough but in reverse. Gravity is now on your side and it's just a matter of how good you are.

You seek "Flow". I know what you mean. I like to "Flow" uphill. There's something about stopping at the bottom of a difficult section, scanning for the best line, and nailing it. One slip, the slightest loss of concentration, and you dab and walk. To make it to the top you need "Flow".
if you have to ask...mr_spin
Sep 6, 2002 1:24 PM
I don't actually know, and I no longer care.

I used to ride as a kid and I guess it was the sense of freedom. But I stopped in high school.

In 1995, my friend sold me his old mountain bike so he would have someone to ride with. I guess at that time mostly I rode to get back into shape, and because it was a lot of fun.

I got a road bike later that year, and met some "roadies" who kicked my ass every week. I rode then for the challenge. I wanted get stronger and faster. I wanted to beat them to the top of the hill.

I've been doing it long enough now that I'm no longer sure why I ride. I just do. Mountain, road, it doesn't matter. There's obvious benefits, health-wise, both physically and especially mentally. There's always the challenge of climbing big mountains. For mountains I climb all the time, there's always the challenge of climbing them faster. There's still the thrill of a fast, twisting descent down a singletrack. I love riding along the ocean and into hidden valleys and going places that couch potatoes could never reach.

All of my good friends ride, so riding is often just an excuse to get together. I don't race, but I'm extremely lucky to have as friends some amazing riders and top-level athletes. A lot of the men and women I ride with used to be able to kick my butt on any given day. Riding with them for the past couple of years has elevated my riding to levels I could not imagine back in 1995. While once I was just a good climber, now I also have power for the flats. No more struggling to hang on the back.

I get burned out sometimes and I cut back on the miles. I get tired of riding the same routes. I crash. I get hurt. I push myself beyond the limit a couple of times a year. (I fainted on one ride this year!) I learn lessons and I repeat my mistakes. But I'll never stop. They'll have to pry my bike out of my cold, dead, hands. And they'll probably want to unclip me, too.
if you have to ask...The Human G-Nome
Sep 6, 2002 2:27 PM
"They'll have to pry my bike out of my cold, dead, hands. And they'll probably want to unclip me, too."

So I can eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's when I finish ;-)hrs
Sep 6, 2002 1:29 PM
Actually I usually limit myself to about 1/4 of the container.

Seriously, my reasons are:
1) Fitness (keep metabolism up and weight down)
2) I'm a skier, riding keeps my legs strong for the winter
3) I love going fast whether it's on a bike, on skis, or in a car
4) It's just plain fun

Health, physical and mental. Plus I need an obsession (nm)terry b
Sep 6, 2002 1:34 PM
Ditto that! (nm)rtyszko
Sep 6, 2002 4:01 PM
the sensationLeroy
Sep 6, 2002 1:45 PM
At my age, 58, it's important to workout, and I like the way I feel after a hard, long ride. To me it's important to workout with motion and speed, I like the rush of going as fast as I can outdoors with the bike making almost no sound. I like the sensation. I have to fight it to take a day off. I love riding.
To get chicks. nmfbg111
Sep 6, 2002 1:46 PM
Me too... but it doesn't seem to be working !Andy
Sep 6, 2002 3:36 PM
Riding is my therapyStarliner
Sep 6, 2002 1:58 PM
I like the open air freedom of a ride; the self-dependency it requires to get from point A to point B; the post-ride glow that results after a good, hard ride.

I am mildly claustrophobic. At times I will feel closed in by a situation or by people, my anxiety level goes up and it becomes a struggle to maintain control. I've found that jumping on my bike is a good way for me to shake off the effects and become grounded again.
Bikes come jump on me/my bed at 7:00 am wanting to go out (nm)js5280
Sep 6, 2002 2:50 PM
i hate driving! cabs are expensive and buses are no fun nmcolker
Sep 6, 2002 3:03 PM
Cause I go crazy when I don't. (n/m)gerwerken
Sep 6, 2002 3:56 PM
To do something most people think is impossible...biknben
Sep 6, 2002 5:19 PM
The are many reasons why I ride. Therapy, fitness, tinkering with the bike all come to mind.

I'm most satisfied when someone thinks I'm doing the impossible. Keeping up with traffic in a school zone or on a downhill. Going through rush hour traffic without skipping a beat. Training in the rain. Riding with studded snowtires in a blizzard. To act like a kid without a care in the world. Even though I've got adult responsibilities.
because of the sufferingweiwentg
Sep 6, 2002 5:21 PM
it's hard, yes. but it makes you alive in a way that nothing else can. I don't like to just be good at things, I want to be damn good. this means riding very hard.
there are, of course, peripheral reasons. health is one of them. the ability to eat a whole pint of Ben and Jerry's is another. but unlike hrs, I don't stop at 1/4 ... usually I tell myself to stop at half, but am still hungry. also, I was kind of hoping to 'get chicks', but that hasn't quite worked out yet. I suppose you never know.
you can't just wake up, crap, eat, work and sleep. I think we need to be intensely passionate about something. for me, that is cycling. some elite athletes say that their chosen sport is better than sex. I disagree, but the point is taken. cycling is different from sex, but the high you get from both is comparable in intensity. unless you break your collarbone.
"occasional pavement-surfing session" LOL nmbiknben
Sep 6, 2002 5:48 PM
I feel the NEED .... FOR ... SPEEDjtolleson
Sep 6, 2002 8:10 PM
that is probably my biggest attraction. From a running and backpacking career of sorts to discovering cycling in the early 90s, I had never had that open road wind in the hair feeling from other sports.

Fitness is a plus, but speed is da bomb.
re: Friday Poll: so why DO you ride, exactly?Akirasho
Sep 6, 2002 8:35 PM
... sanity...

We abide.

Remain In Light.
re: Friday Poll: so why DO you ride, exactly?esbike
Sep 6, 2002 9:28 PM
I have a stressful job and I've found no better antidote than riding a bike. First, it is a total escape. I may think about work a little in the beginning of a ride, but usually I forget about everything very quickly. Working hard on a bike completely soaks up any agitation I've generated. For that reason, the more I suffer, the better. When your world at that moment becomes breathing hard and pedaling, all of life's other worries seem distant and small.
re: Friday Poll: so why DO you ride, exactly?aliensporebomb
Sep 6, 2002 9:42 PM
Momentum can be its own reward.

Some say it's the pain that's spiritually cleansing.

I like to feel that when I'm in that place it's like I'm an
incandescent diamond with the light of many suns roaring thru
me. It's not pain because it's too shortsighted to call it
that but it's like I'm in the crucible.

They say that the SR-71 got stronger every time it flew due
to the fact that the frame of the aircraft would heat up and
heat treat the aircraft. So that's why the frames are good
even today.

I like to think that every time I ride, it does something to
me that is similar - it makes me feel more alive, more like
when I was a kid with limitless potential in front of me.
re: Friday Poll: so why DO you ride, exactly?mackgoo
Sep 6, 2002 10:21 PM
So I can eat my Ben and Jerry's at night. Oh and can you say Morph..... I mean Endorphines.
Because it's fun..............salmonwheel
Sep 7, 2002 4:56 AM
even just on the commute homeI hit a nice flat with no wind, or in a downpour i get this big smile on my face.

oh yeah, and it is a good way to get exercise without thinking "I'm going to get exercise", it is an efficient way to get to work everyday, and most importantly it helps me sustain a normal size with my suprra-normal appetite.
sanity (nm)Jekyll
Sep 7, 2002 6:53 AM
Sep 7, 2002 11:21 AM
Gots to deliver all the news!

Fastest way to get around in these parts.
Bike miles per year around 8,000.
Truck miles maybe 2,000.
Truck needs to be washed as it sits in driveway.
Dream about selling truck and buying another bicycle.

Best part of the day is the ride into work and the ride back. Ride a different way every day, lot's of alt.dirt paths to mix it up.

Its just plain fun.

I'm mostly just in it for the groupies.djg
Sep 8, 2002 9:07 AM
This is more or less the same reason I got a Ph.D. I was told there would be groupies.

Any day now . . .

So, like most folks, there's the exercise thing, the health thing, the challenge thing, the fun thing, the days I don't drop 15 bucks to park thing . . . it all makes sense. But behind it all there's just something viscerally cool about it. When everything works, and you're rolling, there's a feeling, a connection between the rider and the bike and the disappearing road and the motion and it is the way it is. And I like it. I can ride more or less as different things happen to me and life, but I can't see giving up that thing, that experience of riding.

Plus I think bikes are cool. Ok, I'm sort of a geek, so sue me.