Since getting a nicely equipped carbon road bike, I bike more than I ever have. I continually challenge myself to longer, harder rides. First, it was the Pacific Populaire, a 100 km ride in April. Next, it was the West Maui Loop, another 100 km in May. And, then The Canada Day Populaire (146 km) in early July. Late in July, I cycled to Squamish, a 90 km ride taking the route we chose challenging ourselves to frequent climbs along Marine Drive and on the sea-to-sky highway. And, last weekend, I climbed Cypress Mountain, a 15 km climb with an average grade of 5.5% – a favourite climb for local riders but one I have never completed previously despite living (and riding) here for 30 years.
I am particularly proud of this climb. I wasn’t certain I could complete it. Despite cycling to Squamish, a ride that includes two 3 km climbs that, in parts, are steeper, I wasn’t certain I could last for 15 km. I surprised myself. Despite working up a heavy sweat, the climb was easier than I expected. I maintained a steady pace (12-15 km per hour) in my lowest gear – an hour of steady climbing from the highway to the restaurant at the top. I wasn’t certain what to expect but, having completed the climb, I think I may be able to do it faster next time.
Between long, challenging rides, I train regularly – multiple laps around the Stanley Park Road at least twice a week; repeat climbs up the UBC hill from Spanish Banks; and, 70 km rides out to Stevenson, around Richmond and back.
Despite my age, I am having some success. The more I ride, the more I want to ride. I am stronger and faster than ever. I may not be able to keep up with the 30 year olds but keep up with the more “seasoned” bikers. No. Cyclists. Road cyclists. There is a distinction. Bikers commute to work, shop and visit on their bikes. Road cyclists ride to train; to climb faster and higher; to ride longer and faster.
Today, I came across the following slide deck, WHAT I CARRY. It captures what cycling means to me and why, not matter how fast or far I ride, I consider my cycling efforts a success.
- I am humbled every time I clip into the pedals. I am continually amazed how easily some climb and descend the local hills. And, how beautiful this city is.
- I am filled with a sense of wonder every time I discover a new road, a new hill to climb and a new rolling, winding country road to explore.
- After every ride, I am filled with optimism, pleased with my efforts and looking forward to the next ride.
- I help others to ride and maintain their bikes. I tell them it is good for their health, good the the environment and just plain fun.
- Every ride ends with a cup of coffee. I search out new cafes en route and regularly end my ride at Bean Around The World on Main Street.
- When I am on the bike, I look inward. I become introverted focusing on my inner dialogue and the bigger picture.
- I am agile on the bike narrowly missing pot holes and carefully choosing my line as I strive to descend faster.
- I am filled with energy at the end of a ride wanting to do more.
- Every time I straddle the saddle, I begin to whistle, a habit that annoys many. I can’t help it. It is fun.
- And, when I am rolling on two wheels, I work on my story, my unique experience in this place, searching for relevance and validation.
So if you see this guy on Cypress Mountain over the next days: http://thirdwavecyclingblog.wordpress.com/hans-jurgen-jack-becker-profile/ …he is training himself to bike tour solo (I think this is his 4th or 5th time) from Vancouver to Calgary this month.
He was just on the mtn. a few days ago. He’s my partner…in life and in cycling.
Jean, I will keep an eye out for him. Jack has done a lot for cycling in Vancouver. He and I are kindred spirits. And, by the way, I love the mural pictures on your blog. Did you take them?
Yup, what I do …if I stop with my bike. 🙂 At least, better than flying by faster on a car and missing out on some great stuff locally.
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Hi PW. Nice blog. I agree & identify with the sentiments within ‘What I Carry’.
I’ve a very similar approach to cycling. The more I do it the more I enjoy it! In fact I’m just back from a 50 mile ride (pub break in the middle so nice)
I’ve got a 150 mile coast to coast on the 27th June (several 10/10 hills gulp!) Then the following weekend I’ll be riding 100 miles to Cambridge to see the Tour de France then 100 mile return ride. On the 12th July I’ve put myself in for a 120 mile night ride called the Dunwich Dynamo ( swim in the sea at the end before cycling 40 miles back home. I just can’t stop lol.
Its great to read of your enthusiasm for cycling. Infectious and inspiring. Thanks
Thanks for commenting. I started following your blog and am looking forward to getting to know you. Keep rolling.
You might be amused by this poem I wrote after a ride
Like the poem! Are there more on your blog? I’ll have a look.
Nice post, Gary. All those reasons are excellent ones. Riding a bike is a truly wonderful thing!
Thanks Jen. Cycling breaths life into these limbs.
That’s an old post. 2013. How did you even find it?
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