At Planet Bike we dream about bikes. We dream about people riding bikes: riding to work, riding to school, riding bikes to the grocery store, concerts, sporting events, coffee shops and grandma's house, too. We also dream about the day when all cities and towns are safer and more convenient places for cyclists.
The reasons that we love riding and want others to share the love are as numerous as our pedal strokes. The sport of cycling thrills us; but, for us it's equally thrilling to unlock the potential of the bicycle as a simple and efficient means of transportation. Riding in place of driving reduces air and noise pollution. It boosts endorphins and clears the head. Riding strengthens the cardiovascular system, gives you good strong legs, and burns extra calories, to boot. Besides all that, it's a whole heck of a lot of fun.
Frankenbutt, the Beast and I feel the same way. With only one week until our ride starts, we wonder if our ride will have the impact on others’ lives as it has had on us. When my business died 3 years ago, a little bit of me died with it. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt strong. Just training for this ride has changed how I feel about myself and about how I hope my children see me.
For the last three years, I have felt that I short changed my kids in that area. I owe it to them to be as capable and as determined as I was when they were young. Now that the Editor and Captain Oblivious are in their 20’s and the Beast is entering her teen years, I need to be ready to support them as they navigate through the decisions and changes that are inevitable at their ages.
The training for this ride has changed me. It hasn’t been easy. When we first started riding, I struggled to make it 15 miles and would arrive home exhausted and sore. My thighs would burn and I’d wake up stiff and sore the next morning. But, I’d still get back on the bike and ride again. I don’t even consider giving up. Sometimes I rely on silly things to propel me forward like the word “Giant” on the bottom of my socks. Giant is a reputable bike brand but I pretend that it means I need to “think big”; that I need to find the Giant within myself and pedal through what sometimes feels like it will defeat me.
When we began training, the thought of riding 50 miles in a day seemed not only unlikely but near impossible. Now we routinely ride 40-60 miles in a day. Believe me, the aches and pains have not gone away … they just kind of … move around. Some days, our butts hurt. Some days, our elbows and wrists hurt. Other days, our hands are sore or our ankles are sore. The good news is that most of our pains subside with a good night’s sleep. I also find some of the pains of self-doubt going away.
That’s enough “navel gazing” for now. I have other things I want to share. Remember Kyle who injured his leg at the Jack Frost Classic race in Egg Harbor Township, NJ? He just got clearance from his specialist that he can ride again! YES! According to his mom, Cindy, he’s very excited at the idea of getting back on the track and hopes to be at Trumbull, CT track this weekend. Kyle, our thoughts are with you. Go out there and do what you do so well and enjoy the ride!