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Old 02-09-04, 02:46 PM   #1
Portis
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Biking a Journey Or a Destination?

I have biked nearly every day for the past 6 months. (except last couple weeks -weather ) I always ride out into the country somewhere where I get away from it all, but i also am usually riding pretty fast and looking for a good work out so I rarely if ever stop.

This has me thinking. I must be missing something. Some rides i just find myself staring over the handlebars and pedaling fast for an hour solid. Isn't something missing here?

I met a guy out on the trail awhile back that was on an old lightspeed MTB. The bike looked like it had been around the world and back and was anything but impressive. The pump was strapped on with an old weathered belt and the paint was an old, tired faded gray. The rider had a long gray beard (sort of zz top like) with a weathered face. His legs looked like chiseled granite from years of riding.

I flew by him on the trail and then passed him again on the way back. I decided to stop and visit with him this time because he seemed intriguing. He proceeded to tell me that he rides every day, at least twice and has done so for nearly 30 years. He was from the SW and was in town visiting relatives. He explained to me how biking was much cheaper than a psychiatrist and that he no longer felt the need to go fast any more.

After our visit, I headed off on my bike but somehow couldn't put him out of my mind. He seemed to be getting something out of his ride that I wasn't. Perhaps it is like the old expression, "life is a journey, not a destination." I don't want to spend anymore time worrying about how fast I rode, or stressing if i don't get to ride one day or the other. I plan to try and enjoy the ride more, perhaps parking the bike a time or two to get off and explore the surroundings from time to time.

Last edited by Portis; 02-10-04 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 02-09-04, 03:20 PM   #2
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I've reached that point.... I don't care for speed or distance any longer. I enjoy quality time in the saddle, building bikes with fine components, etc... Puts my mind at ease every time I doing anything bike related...

George
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Old 02-09-04, 04:38 PM   #3
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I tried racing one year and ended up with two inconsequential wins in less-than-inconsequential training races.

And my right leg was screwed up for years.

Finally I've found just the right saddle/crank/pedal combination that allows me to creep along in relative comfort. I was slow back then, but I was greased lightning compared to today.

And I finally enjoy it. My favorite ride last year was a daylong trip on a local rails-to-trails on a 90F day. Something about rolling along and hearing nothing but the wind in the corn and the buzzing cicadas. No people and no traffic.
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Old 02-09-04, 07:22 PM   #4
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So many miss the view for the ride. They are more concerned about bike weight and average speed than enjoying life. I have to rush rush rush at work, but not on my bike. Smart man you met.
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Old 02-09-04, 07:32 PM   #5
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I enjoy the simplicity of riding. Enjoying what I see along the way, feeling myself respond to the conditions, the quietness of a well lubed chain as you cruise along an otherwise empty country road. I enjoy the farms I pass, the livestock and or crops being raised there, and the Amish school houses with kids playing games in the school yard. So I guess my rides are both a journey and a destination. A journey in that I sense my surroundings and a destination as it leaves me in peace. I guess that's why I like cycling so much.
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Old 02-09-04, 07:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ranger
Biking a Journey Or a Destination?
Yes.

You are probably too used to automobiles zipping you to your destination. On a bicycle you experience every inch of your trip. Learn to appreciate it; the smells, the sounds and the sights. New mown grass. Blooming flowers. Kids laughter. I think because of mechanization we have become somewhat immune to nature. A bike is a good way to help return us to some of the basics and to put the world in perspective.
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Old 02-09-04, 08:12 PM   #7
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For me, the speed and distance ARE the enjoyment. After years of a sedentary lifestyle, every increase in speed or distance reminds me of who I'm not anymore. When I climb a monster hill, I look back and try to imagine how far the me of a year or two ago would've made it before collapsing, and when I do, I just have to smile as I fly down the backside.
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Old 02-09-04, 08:43 PM   #8
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For me, the speed and distance ARE the enjoyment. After years of a sedentary lifestyle, every increase in speed or distance reminds me of who I'm not anymore. When I climb a monster hill, I look back and try to imagine how far the me of a year or two ago would've made it before collapsing, and when I do, I just have to smile as I fly down the backside.
......just wait til you turn forty.....
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Old 02-09-04, 09:05 PM   #9
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Biking is, at various times, both a destination and a journey for me. When I'm commuting or running some other kind of errand, the bike is simply the best option for that particular type of trip. I don't ride to work for the scenery (although that's aright sometimes), I ride to work because it's the best option. Generally there's somewhere else I'd rather be at the time.

However, on my weekend rides, or on tours, my bike is the escape from all the things I despise about day to day life. Then biking becomes a journey, and a chance to enjoy the little things such as the flowers, the hills or the rainforest.
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Old 02-09-04, 10:45 PM   #10
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Rarely is a bike trip ordinary. On a nice day enjoying nature is almost impossible from the handlebars of a bike.
If late for work, I might find a need to get my average speed up. But, the trip is still enjoyable. Looking at the maze of stalled cars, how could I not be happy to be in my chosen situation.
I might have a destination in mind, but it is still a journey.
Your new found friend was wise..If one is obsessed with speed, the journey becomes work..Ride fast only when you feel like it.
Being on the bike is like days of old, when one went out on a Sunday drive in a convertible. nature was everywhere.
Cut your average speed from 40 mph to 21 mph(on the bike) and nature is everywhere... Anyone not stirred by being out with nature has a soul that has died.
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Old 02-10-04, 09:30 AM   #11
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I make my rides a destination so that I can enjoy the journey. I have found myself on rides that were work because I looked at them that way, but when I have a goal whether its a location a speed or a distance it gives me something to shoot for.

My question would be why are you riding every day? Fitness? Race prep? Because somebody said its fun and you're going to by-gosh have some fun? Step back and take a look, then ride for the right reason.

Dave
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Old 02-10-04, 12:22 PM   #12
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When I did my cross-country tour this last summer I really found that the journey was amazing. I slowed down (and with 100 pounds of gear under me - that includes the bike) I had realized that I was no longer going to be able to meet speeds that I was used to. It gave me a new state of mind that I hadn't yet seen in my commuting to work and day rides from my house.

The day of the century across Kansas (aka Hell Day) also gave me a different perspective on that journey (also the day into the wind of the Wind River Valley in Wyoming - aka Hell Day Numero Dos). The journey can be fun when the weather and mileage are reasonable. Otherwise it's all about destination. Get me there alive and in as little pain as possible.
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Old 02-10-04, 02:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by The Fixer
......just wait til you turn forty.....

Well, I am forty -- and am in better shape than I was at 30. That is part of the enjoyment (which comes from working hard on the bike, at times). But its not all about hard training. There's also the rhythm, and at times the feel of the air, the smells, and the knowledge that I'm not in a car. It is a destination and a journey going ....

Just hoping that I don't ever get messed up by a car.
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Old 02-10-04, 03:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by erraticrider
Well, I am forty -- and am in better shape than I was at 30. That is part of the enjoyment (which comes from working hard on the bike, at times). But its not all about hard training. There's also the rhythm, and at times the feel of the air, the smells, and the knowledge that I'm not in a car. It is a destination and a journey going ....
That was partially my point as well...... I'll be 50 this year but at or around 40, I was in my top physical shape. I was a much stronger rider then than when I was in my twenties. After I reached my peak strength, I figured, I'm married with a family and I had no one to impress, so I figured I'd just enjoy the simplicity of riding fixed geared bikes and also enjoy the scenery from this point on. But I still enjoy hammering with the pack on Sat morning training rides....I still have a little bit of that machoness left in me...

George

Last edited by roadfix; 02-10-04 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 02-11-04, 06:38 AM   #15
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I think life in general is the journey, I don't know what to consider my destination to be, it seems to change as life moves along. I go where i go and do what i do, I do this at a very low stress level in a very high stress environment. Most don't know how to take me and think I'm strange because I ride a bike everywhere and never rush or get stressed. I've learned to live with and tollerate the weather and any natural obstacle that gets in my path. I accept everyone for whom they are and let everyone do what they do.
Enjoy the ride both on and off the bike.
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Old 02-12-04, 07:34 PM   #16
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..... so I figured I'd just enjoy the simplicity of riding fixed geared bikes and also enjoy the scenery from this point on. ....
George
Fixed gears look so graceful.

Call it the Zen of fixed gears.
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Old 02-12-04, 10:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mrfix
I think life in general is the journey, I don't know what to consider my destination to be, it seems to change as life moves along. I go where i go and do what i do, I do this at a very low stress level in a very high stress environment. I've learned to live with and tollerate the weather and any natural obstacle that gets in my path. I accept everyone for whom they are and let everyone do what they do.
Enjoy the ride both on and off the bike.
Well said, but my destination is when they put me 6 feet under.
When I ride and the one of the reasons I ride is to slow down and feel nature around me.
Everything goes by in a blurr if the journey is to fast.
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