You swing a leg over your bike and ask: “Okay, so where am I going?” That seems like a pretty common question to me, we all do that, well, hopefully we have that worked out a little before actually swinging a leg over. There is another question though, which hopefully is also worked out long before leg swingin’, and which really shouldn’t have to be asked because if you are asking this question, maybe it would be best to just swing that leg back off and slowly step away without making eye contact with your bike! The question in question is simply; “Why am I riding?” Oh, tough one I know, right?
Well really, this is one of the aspects I love about bike riding, the range of reasons we do this thing. Fun is the, “Well duh” answer, but things get far more interesting when a rider is asked what do you mean by fun? For a lot of people this is as simple as riding for a mile or two on the bike path to the beach but for most of us that just doesn’t quite push the fun button. Maybe it takes a few more miles, on or off road doesn’t matter, we simply need enough pedal time to get that endorphin buzz that makes everything feel better.
For a large number of riders, that endorphin buzz is only half of the equation, adrenaline is the driving (oops I mean riding) factor. When we add this chemical that our body produces, things get, well, really fun! But here too, the range of what it takes to push that adrenaline button is incredible. For some, zippin’ along downhill through some zippidy do dah turns in the trees will do it, for others it may be riding up or down in rough technical terrain trying not to get off the bike or worse, to get that adrenaline rush, (this is one of my personal favorite modes), still for others it is hitting the medium jump line at the bike park or that secret unimaginably huge road gap jump hidden out on the mountainside somewhere. And then there are the adventure rides, “Let’s see if we can get from our starting point here by connecting these three rides and maybe a little unknown connector of hike a bike to finish over there where the beer will be waiting.” Okay, that is my personal favorite style. And let us not forget those skinny tired road warriors pounding out hours and huge miles which probably favors the endorphin end of things more than the adrenaline, unless there are some of those huge metal boxes on wheels speeding uncomfortably close by, that can produce a little more adrenal surge. Come to think of it that can be exactly what is needed to finish that last climb.
We have to include those who do this two wheeled thing strictly for exercise. I know a bunch of folks who have their daily routine, like clockwork, this ride, these miles, this amount of time and they are happy and oh so healthy! These folks aren’t looking for the rush or the buzz, it is all about the fitness, although there is a certain amount of unavoidable underlying satisfaction that comes along with the endorphin buzz, it’s there and it is addictive isn’t it.
Ahh yes let us not forget our commuter brethren. Those who swing a leg over because they don’t or even wont drive around town to run errands or get to work. There is no seeking adrenaline or endorphins here, although…as we know, there could still be some sneaking in occasionally. This level of devotion to riding around town comes with a totally different set of rewards. Doing the right thing, saving money, not paying for gas, helping reduce traffic woes, and as usual because they are on a bike, IT FEELS GOOD!
I need to add a side note here. We recently recovered what we believe to be a stolen commuter bike. It’s a nice road style, some stickers on it, medium to smaller size. If you have lost a bike like this this summer or maybe you know who did, call the shop at 530-541-7505 give us some identifying info, someone obviously loved this bike and we want them to have it back!
There is one more group of riders that I have to mention when we ask “Why do we ride/What do you consider fun?” This group is definitely in it for the fun. The endorphins probably aren’t a factor nor would I think is adrenaline and I would add that it isn’t just for fun but pure joy! It’s the kids, the really little kids. I love seeing the little ones on their bikes, trikes, striders cruising around with that look of “Wow this is the best thing ever!” on their faces. Well wait a minute, I think that is what we all get to feel once we swing that leg over, I don’t think there is a single one of us that hasn’t said “It makes me feel like a kid again!”
The answer to that question; It’s a tool, a toy, transportation and therapy all on two wheels. And it will if only for a few moments make you forget about politics and covid!