Ten Reasons I Ride
Kelsey Phinney is a sometimes cyclist and a thoughtful athlete. She shares her motivation on the bike from her home in Boulder, CO.
1. To get away. Sometimes when I get stressed with work or life, I hop on my mountain bike and ride off into the woods. Mountain biking forces me to focus on the present. All I can think about are the rocks to avoid, the roots to get over, and the burn in my legs. Although I’m usually tired and dirty when I get back home, I always feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day!
2. Coffee shop rides. Craving an easy day outside? Find a friend and a delicious destination to ride to. It’s the best way to get a little sun, a nice conversation, and tasty treats!
3. Dead end roads. I realized the power and beauty of the dead end road a couple of summers ago when I was visiting my brother in Italy. Since he spends most of his day on the bike, I would also end up spending quite a bit of time on my bike exploring the hills behind his apartment. I found that the quietest, often steepest, and windiest roads did not usually have a “destination.” But boy, do they have some amazing views! It definitely is fun riding back down in a fraction of the time it takes to ride up. Do not be afraid of the “no outlet” signs!
4. Dirt Roads. Similar to dead end roads, I used to fear the dirt road until I realized how cool they can be. There is a little dirt road that is cut into the backside of Snowmass Mountain in Colorado (pictured above) that embodies everything I love about these kind of roads. There is something intoxicating about the quiet, the new challenges of a steep pitch on gravel, and the views along the way!
5. Spending time with family. Now my family might love cycling more than the average household, but I think this can be applicable to any family at any age. Growing up, we had family adventure rides. That could mean anything from a bike into town to get breakfast, to a kitted up ride on the bike paths around Boulder, to mountain biking to the bike park to attempt (or simply ride over) the dirt jumps. We still have family adventure rides whenever we are in the same place, and I have had some of my favorite conversations and moments on these rides.
6. Climbing, especially with switchbacks. I love going uphill on my bike. There is something special about getting down to your lowest gear, and finding your rhythm of pushing yourself up the climb one pedal rotation at a time. Life seems to go by a little slower, you can feel each sweat drop accumulate and fall down your face. Then as if all at once, you aren’t very far from the top anymore. You look back and smile at every switchback you have mastered. The legs start to burn, the sweat starts to pour, but you have found your rhythm. You know you are going to make it to the top. The reward is always well worth it. Personally, I usually treat myself to a chocolate chip cookie with nuts at the top of a big climb.
7. The views. Whether you go out on the flats, up in the mountains, along the coast, to a lake, or really anywhere, there is always at least one thing that will surprise you. When I go out on my bike, I am consistently amazed by the beauty all around me. Biking lets me slow down and really appreciate what is around me.
8. Descending. Speaking of rewards from a long climb, descending is definitely a big perk. I love to test my cornering skills on switchback descents on my road bike. I also love putting faith in my bike and my bike handling skills on steep and technical descents on my mountain bike.
9. New friends. Whether it is a new climbing buddy that is going the same pace as you, or a really exotic looking cow, new friends are always nice. I met this guy the other day while riding east of Boulder. We had a staring contest while I drank water and took his picture; it was pretty awesome to say the least.
10. For FUN! Biking can be as easy or challenging as you want. Yes, I bike as a form of cross training for Nordic skiing and as a great way to get a longer distance workout. At the end of the day, I mainly ride my bike because I really enjoy riding for fun!
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