I Ride for Her
Written by Mona Wills - September 2019
Sometime ago I ran across a short writing that was tribute to the author’s bike. I kept the article because it was a great description of the relationship between rider and bike but unfortunately, I didn’t save the source of the article or the author’s name. Below in italics is the article but I have changed it a bit from the original. Hopefully this writing will ring true for those that read it.
My bike is my best friend, and possibly even my only true ally in this world. My bike will never betray me in the way a few past relationships have. It may break or throw me off into a ditch or go a tire go flat so I must push it, but it will never work towards my undoing, at least not intentionally.
My bike is always there when I need it. If I take care of it, it takes care of me. I get to go places, see things, and travel under the physical power of my body. Feeling that personal power is intoxicating. My mind becomes sharper, my senses are enlivened, and time becomes like liquid while I’m riding.
My bike is my stalwart companion when all my human interactions have failed me again for the umpteenth time. All the sense of loss, hurt, and anger created in this world is pedaled out. The bike props me up when, if left alone to my own strength in the moment, I would be in a fetal position. When troubled, a bike ride unravels my mental and emotional knots and helps to solve problems and keep me even keeled. There are times when I can’t articulate what is wrong, but my bike doesn’t care; it will be a good friend and take me on my way for as long as I need to go. It has eternal patience.
When my father died, and I was sobbing out of my head with grief I shunned the comfort of my family and got on my bike. I rode and rode and pushed up a couple peaks. As I kept pedaling, I processed my whole life experience and before I knew it, I felt so much better because I had the best friend ever to lean on, my bike.
This year our members have experienced grand adventures followed by days of dark thoughts of not knowing what to do next. We have had challenges followed by elation. Even one person had the ultimate release of physical pain caused by death followed by friends gathering to celebrate the life that was well lived. We’ve created new friendships while riding together this year, gotten together with friends we’ve known for years because of our shared love of riding, and we’ve packed our bikes on the bike rack and headed off for a day, a weekend, or a week of riding.
We have different reasons for riding, different modes for riding, different terrain for riding but it still comes down to bike and human being engaged with the other. When the two meld it is a time of mental and emotional release and in that we know we are alive and loving it. Or better yet what we experience in riding on any given day is a metaphor of daily life.
Below is a link to a short film from Salsa Cycles relating the finishing line of the Dirty Kanza, a 200 mile bicycle race through the Flint Hills of Kansas. It is a place where personal discoveries are made and raw emotions reveal themselves.