Why do you ride?

June 25, 2013

I've ridden my bike for all kinds of different reasons — for recreation, for fitness, for transportation, for racing, for travel, for flat out fun.

Lately, with a life in front of computer screens and a constant flow of music in my headphones, the quiet and calm of being on a bike brings me something invaluable. My bike brings me pause. These days I ride to escape, to listen to myself, find myself.

Now I ask you…

Whatever your reason, I'm glad you're out there on two wheels. Keep at it.

Graphic by Rachel Stevens, Photo by Chuck Haney

ART. ADVENTURE. AWESOMENESS. wishes to bring you enthusiasm every other Tuesday. This column is written by Rachel Stevens, a graphic designer at Adventure Cycling Association.


A-J August 28, 2013, 9:35 PM

I was never a real cyclist. Not the muscular, lycra clad, aerodynamic kind anyway. In my early 20's I longed to see the world but my daydreaming habit got in the way of working. My lofty ambitions of long journeys to remote corners of the planet rapidly got deflated by monetary constraints.

Cycling came as an epiphanic solution to reconcile my work aversion and desire to travel. Traveling by bike, I could camp around for free. I wouldn't have to spend money on busses, trains and taxis. I could eat in inexpensive roadside stall or cook my own food on a camp stove. For entertainment? Why I'd ride my bike of course. I could spend months on the road on a budget that would last a frugal backpacker only a few weeks. Off I went to Patagonia. So, why do I ride? Well, to be honest, I'd have to say that it all started because I was too lazy to work.

It soon became evident that biking was not just the cheapest way to travel, it was also the best. One that would lead to countless encounters and adventures that would not have been possible otherwise, miles away from the confines of the "Lonely Planet corridor".

With the realization that the simplicity of traveling by bicycle allowed me to achieve a deeper connexion with the land and people I visited, cycling became a deliberate choice. That is great because I am still not especially fond of working...

20 years after my first trip with thousands of miles cycled on 5 continents (I haven't made it to Australia yet), I am still riding with my wife and 2 young boys (5 and 2) in tow now. I hope I'll be able to instill in my kids the same laziness that got me riding in the first place.

karim July 17, 2013, 2:10 PM

I run cause it makes me feel alive : this is my fuel, this my philosophy, this is my rules !

Roger July 5, 2013, 8:30 AM

I ride because I can. I had a pacemaker implanted at 50, was hit by an SUV at 51 but I can still ride. There are many out there who are not nearly so lucky as I have been.

Suzanne June 26, 2013, 4:45 AM

To embody the saying : "Everyday you're alive is a good day."

I say : "Every day I can ride is an even better day". Makes me feel the joy of being alive. And I like the freedom of it (compared to being stuck in a car/bus/subway/etc.)

KUJO JIMOH June 26, 2013, 2:40 AM

my bicycle has become part of me, when i was 10 i love riding but my parent didnt gave me chance, they scared i might get in trouble. But when i grew up 18 i bought one myself which i ride on a long journey to see new place and riding also gives me fitness, recreation and lots more..

Scott June 27, 2013, 8:05 AM


That is wonderful! A bicycle is a great way to see new things and meet new people and a good way to stay out of trouble! :) Roll on, Kujo!

Katie Hahn June 25, 2013, 1:52 PM

I grew up on a bike tour! I started touring with Jim Klobuchar as a 17-year-old in the summer of 1983. Biked in a pack of about 200 riders against a strong headwind, and I was hooked! Community living at its finest.

Rachel July 23, 2013, 8:39 AM

that sounds amazing, katie!

bicycling community in a nutshell, for sure.

Von Ketelsen June 25, 2013, 1:52 PM

I ride to feel alive!

I've feel alive when I'm pedaling across a flat plain, on a blue sky day. I also feel alive when I'm pedaling, and get caught in pouring rain.

During the past five years, I didn't spend as much time as I should have on my bike. I was too busy with a job. Fortunately, I changed jobs, and now I have time to ride in the morning, like I used to years ago.

My bike has become a companion to me again. Even when things aren't going so well, riding my bike gives me time and space to think things through, and give thanks. I'm always grateful that I'm able to get on a bike, ride, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life that are the most important. Namely, better health, seeing the world at a slower pace, and being part of the world.

Rickonabike June 25, 2013, 1:49 PM

On a motorcycle, you see 10x what you see in a car as you ride through the landscape. On a bicycle, you see 1000 times more than on a motorcycle, plus the interaction with the locals, meeting fellow riders, and being out in the environment are all condusive to zen. I feel more alive on the road than almost anything else I do.

Jim Guenther June 25, 2013, 1:44 PM

I ride to see new places and meet new people, that you bypass in a car. Bike travel allows for that. Strangers are friendlier to bike riders and want to engage in conversation and escort you in their home area.

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