November 20, 2015
I'm not much of a group rider and that's an understatement. I'd estimate that over 98 percent of the miles I've pedaled have been solo, or with one other person. I like the solitude and reflection that comes with bike travel.
But last month I had a chance to be "one of the pack." I was asked to speak at the Hilly Hundred, an annual ride in Indiana. In its 48th year, this ride, run by the Central Indiana Bicycling Association (CIBA), draws thousands of cyclists to pedal the country back roads amidst the splendor of fall and luckily the organizers kindly provided me with a road bike so I could participate. I've spent so many years pedaling with racks and gear that my road bike felt like a self-propelled rocket ship.
The party rolled with smiling bike riders ranging in age from 5 to 85. Many participants have been riding the Hilly Hundred for decades.
Local bands played at every rest stop, and tables were piled with pedaler's fuel, including plenty of baked goods. There was a wonderful spirit of camaraderie, combined with history. In short, I had a blast.
It made me wonder, what else is out there that I haven't tried ... fat bike touring, cyclocross, bike polo ... ? Why not?
Doing what you love is joy. But you can't love it, until you've tried it.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday.
Willie Weir is a contributor for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can also find him at WillieWeir.com, Facebook, and Instagram.