Why I Cycle
Posted on 31 October 2016
There’s not a morning that goes by when I don’t wish I could jump on my Cannondale and go for a long trek through the Adelaide Hills. However, that pesky thing called ‘work’ gets in the way again…urrghh, leaving me no choice but to put my trusted SuperSix back on the hook until time permits.
I’ve been riding since my childhood. Starting out on a BMX bike throughout my early years and during my twenties when life was more chaotic and consuming, I laid my bicycle to rest, while focusing on other aspects of infant adulthood. Glad those twenties are over, I doubt I could’ve handled another decade of that! During my thirties when life started to settle, though, responsibilities started to mount with a sprouting family, mortgage, and career obligations. Life became even more chaotic, and vital with increasing anxieties and stresses.
Man, and I thought my twenties were rough!
I’m now in my early forties and regained my passion for cycling about 7 years ago when the stresses of life started to build up and my mental and physical health began to rear its ugly head. I’ve always been an active person, always engaging in the outdoors whenever possible. I was seeking to find that ‘happy place’ in order to become a better dad, husband, boss...person. Otherwise, I would risk losing everything I’ve worked so hard for over the past 15 years of my life.
My professional life was consuming all my free time, social life, family time and most importantly my health. I needed an outlet, a physical outlet, where I could release pent-up anxieties and regain mental balance; a sport or hobby that could take me away from the pressure of adulthood. I never enjoyed the physical pounding that running hard on my body so I knew that was out of the question, and I’m not the greatest of swimmers. So what would I do? The writing was on the wall and so obvious that I almost missed the boat completely — cycling!
Living in Adelaide opened the door to a whole new world of cycling. Surrounded by the Adelaide Hills, rugged coast and wine country, my first thoughts about getting back on my bike was to explore my region and discover new reaches that I never seen. Being a lifelong resident, I was amazed how many places I’d never seen or even heard about until I started riding again. The sport seemed to be thriving. I found endless clubs with events, social rides and competitions for all skill levels.
For those dedicated riders, the answer can vary upon the individual. For myself, the initial purpose was to regain my fitness and reclaim my mental and physical strength. The more experience I obtained over the years, the more physically fit I became, morphing my reasons into additional aspects which now include exploration, self-worth, accomplishing goals, and challenging myself.
However, you might find that other riders enjoy the social aspect, being a part of a club atmosphere, in-house competition or personal banter amongst the mates to be their motive. Certain experienced riders find a level of eliteness, elevating one’s ego into a new sense of prowess; though for the less dedicated, or non-recreational users, cycling is implemented merely as a means of transportation. Additionally, some just enjoy wearing lycra or the better known acronym within the sport as MAMIL, Middle-Aged Men in Lycra!
Those are just some of the core reasons we cyclists cycle and, as mentioned earlier, it varies greatly upon the individual. I believe most riders set out with a goal in mind; to accomplish something unique and new. Though, on a personal level, I enjoy the cycling scene or culture. There’s always an opportunity to find a group ride through the club, or rendezvous with the same mates every week and knock out a nice 100km ride. The more connections I’ve made through cycling, the more I understand the overall etiquette, prestige and the core values of the sport which has enabled me to become that better person I set out to be 7 years ago. The bottom line is: it’s just exciting!
A bit about our author
An American outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer who's currently enjoying his life in beautiful Adelaide, Australia. Scott is the perfect spokesman for living life like it's an adventure.