It’s been a long time since I rode simply for the sake of well-riding. Lately, I’ve been riding to get places- to get to work, to get home from work, to meet friends, to train for a long tour, to avoid paying MTA fares.
But yesterday, I felt the need to ride to just ride. I wasn’t training for anything spectacular, I was just riding to breathe, and to feel free. I wore an old Team Astana cap that my dad gave me after Vincezo Nibali (a member of Team Astana) won the Tour de France in 2014. For years I constantly wore this when I rode my bike, but this year for some reason I stopped.
I rode passed a lot of the places that I rode growing up, and I felt very nostalgic. But the thing that made me the most nostalgic was hitting the velodrome. The velodrome was my own personal raceway growing up, and as a kid who rode frequently, my favorite activity there was passing the boys.
I remember one incident in particular, when this one boy passed me only to have me pass him like two seconds later. He was panting and completely out of breath.
The one thing I noticed over the years was that there were so few women who rode on the track. There were tons of men, but unless it was an organized team there was almost never any women who rode there.
After I finished my ride on the velodrome, I rode back home and I thought about how much I loved riding, and how over the summer when riding became something I did out of necessity, that it lost some of its peacefulness. I love my job, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything, but biking to work took some of the meditative aspects away from riding.
Yesterday, riding gave me an hour and a half just to think. Just to feel. To look around me and be present. Here’s one of the views that was too beautiful not to capture:
I read somewhere that the one thing that cyclists and vegans have in common is that we won’t shut up about our lifestyles. But how could I not- when you get views this beautiful that you could never get in a car.
What this ride showed me was that I need to take a step back and to stop and look at everything, especially the nature around me.