Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What A Bike Ride With Friends Says About Your Social Sense

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving - Albert Einstein. 

So much has been said about riding bicycles. The simple joy cannot be overstated. And as we progress in bike technology joy has certainly turned to THRILL! The amazing feel of biking is one mostly discussed as a solo pursuit, but so many of my memories come from riding with friends and loved ones. And it is with this notion that I wanted to make a point about the social aspects of riding bikes with friends.

Last night, a group of my friends decided to hit up our local thrasher trail (the hard lines) in the Horse Gulch trail system. We met at the obligatory 5:30, after work and when the day was done. If you were to spot us individually you might not think we all rode together, but that's the thing about mountain biking. Everyone has a spot in the group! A bike ride is a time for togetherness and support. We took off on our ride and ended up doing a technical ride through a section of trail called Raiders Ridge. A ride that I take often. Each of us waited for the other, offered support and also talked about the week, or good times we had planned for the week-END.
When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for as spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
And so it goes with riding your bike with a group of friends - you bring to bear your life, challenges, ideas, opportunities, and heartache. There have been a lot of riding partners in my life. And when I reflect on our rides together, I think of some very special people. I cherish these memories, and hope to ride with them again. However, all this said, the funny thing about how I feel now is not how I used to act! On rides in the past, and during my racing days, I used to be so agressive with each ride. Pushing myself and my friends to go faster uphill. I would get annoyed if I had to wait. So what did that say about me? Nothing good, I'll say so myself! But I learned...

On bike rides with friends, we do learn. A good friend of mine taught me this and said wisely (paraphrasing)...
Think about riding as a social experiment, you seem to understand things this way, the more you give back to your community the more it gives back to you - Bender
He was right... Now, on rides, I am patient, I am kind, I take cookie breaks, I enjoy the group and I like to drink beer after. It took learning these lessons and embracing them on a bike ride, over time (unfortunately for some people who witnessed my ignorance - sorry). So a bike ride with friends is more than just shredding, speed and scending... It is love.

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