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Why do you ride?

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Old 09-11-07, 04:27 PM
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mtnwalker
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Why do you ride?

A co-worker overheard me and another co-worker talking about our recent rides the past few weeks. Particularly the climbs, long distances and how we are looking forward to some centuries coming up and more climbing. He asked this question to us:

"What do you get from it? Besides the exercise, why do you ride? Are there endorphins that releases or what? What makes you go ride again?"

I gave him some smart answer like I do it for the pain. But after I really thought about it I asked myself why do I really ride? I mean there is no real pleasure about it. Sure there is the pleasure of accomplishment but I don't remember feeling happy as I was huffing and puffing up those really steep, long climbs and I'm usually sore the next few days. In fact just last night I was contemplating driving in to work because I was so tired and my knees hurt. And yet I got up this morning itching to get on my bike to ride to work. And I'm itching to get in some more riding and climbing on the weekends. Am I crazy or are we just gluttons for punishment? Or both.
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Old 09-11-07, 04:32 PM
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knowing that I'm not stuck in traffic is a bonus of riding to work. Although not really a pleausre, its kind of fun to ride to and from work, taking different routes and seeing what is down that street you usually don't drive down on the way home.
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Old 09-11-07, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mtnwalker View Post
Am I crazy or are we just gluttons for punishment? Or both.
You're crazy. As my dad knew when I was a kid, the best punishment is to TAKE AWAY the bike.
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Old 09-11-07, 04:48 PM
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I don't know if I have a reason. It's just always thought it was the obvious thing to do. 30 years of riding bikes...
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Old 09-11-07, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
You're crazy. As my dad knew when I was a kid, the best punishment is to TAKE AWAY the bike.
I don't remember what I did... but I DO remember longing to ride my brand new first mountain bike (with gears!) for a good part of the summer. It just sat there all shiny and taunting me. Worst punishment ever!
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Old 09-11-07, 05:08 PM
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Besides the exercise, why do you ride?
I rode an organized century a few weeks ago, first 20 was a breeze, next 55 miles were hill hell, I felt like puking, dying and crying, all at once. Up down up down up down Finger Lakes region hills at 75% grade, yeah that's right you fall over backwards if you're not careful and who the hell is the sadist who laid out this damn course anyways? I cursed him there in the hills, many times. And then, with nothing but rollers and beautiful country and even some tail wind, covered in sweat, bugs and chocolate pudding after a gel opening gone wrong, I was able to get it back up to the 18s, wait 19s now and yeah baby the 20s, fresh, fast and alive again!

That's why. The fat guy on the couch I used to be is but a distant memory, someone I once knew.
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Old 09-11-07, 05:14 PM
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I'm not sure of the context of your question. But if you mean "Why do I continue to bike commute/utility cycling?" It's the challenge. Driving a car is just too easy. I'm basically a lazy person and if I can get away with it... I'll sit on the sofa, watch TV, eat fast food and smoke. Riding forces me to get my act together. If I forget something, I can't turn around to ride back and get it. I have to plan my day better, anticipate potential problems and leave on time or I'm screwed. I have to eat better, or I get exhausted too quick. Riding burns off tension and anxiety, which really aren't useful for anything. Somehow, while riding takes two or three times longer than driving, I have more time left over at the end of the day.
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Old 09-11-07, 05:29 PM
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It just feels natural. As a small child, bicycles were freedom. As a teen they were transportation. As an adult they have been an economic lever that made many things possible. As a middle aged adult they are a chick magnet as they keep me in shape. They have always been a calm spot in a busy life and a way to be alone. They have been a challenge, and most of all fun.
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Old 09-11-07, 05:33 PM
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To convince myself that I can.

I'm a good programmer.

I know master musicians, heads of companies, etc.

Most people I know that are insanely successful are in some ways very insecure, and end up compensating with insane levels of success.

Please note the part where I said "Most people I know" not to imply that everyone that is successful is, simply that it is one reason to succeed.

I'm a computer geek, and before the Army was in horrible shape (and got discharged for a pre existing adrenal failure) so I've always been unsure of where I was physically. This lets me know.

-- James
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Old 09-11-07, 05:40 PM
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I ride because:
* it's healthy
* it's fun
* there's something about getting around under your own power

I commute by bike because:
* I can ride my bike (see above reasons)
* it saves me $6 in gas and $4 in parking every day I do it. That's $200 a month.
* I essentially squeeze 2 hours of cardio into a 45 minute slot in my day since driving is only 45 minutes shorter round trip
* Great stress reliever.
* The looks I get from my cow-orkers as I walk in carrying a helmet and panniers
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Old 09-11-07, 05:46 PM
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Allister
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I started riding simply because it was the most logical way to get to work. You'd have to be mad to drive a car into this city every day. Once you start, it's kinda hard to stop.
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Old 09-11-07, 05:50 PM
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I ride my bike because I really enjoy riding my bike. There's not much more to it for me than that. I could quote ax0n, as he raised a few points that mimic my feeling (stress relief, money savings on alternative transportation) but I mainly ride because it's fun and makes me feel great for doing it.

I rode my bike 75miles to do a 200k bike ride. Douglas Adams said something (in Triumph of the Nerds, I think) about phone nerds (phreaks) using a phone in order to use a phone, and a computer geek using a computer in order to use a computer - well, I can identify being both a computer geek and a keen cyclist.
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Old 09-11-07, 05:59 PM
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unlike mtnwalker, I get great pleasure out of riding!

I love the sights I see, the perspective, the fact that I'm doing it all myself owning up to my own life! I love the challenge, but I love the feel of just cruising, too.

I love the muscle soreness the next day that mellows me out, I love not wasting money on gas...I'm also a gear *****, and I love the bikes!

It's just fun! I feel sometimes when I get in the rhythm like I could ride to the ends of the earth. ever feel that? Where you're just spinning at a nice pace and it feels so good you just want to go forever?

I love it.
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Old 09-11-07, 05:59 PM
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What a good question! How philosophical!

I ride for several reasons:
  • I'm a 'tree-hugger' and don't believe in wasting so much gas.
  • Commuting to school is just smarter, I can't afford parking anyway
  • I love the challenge, that is I have to will myself to do it, and I enjoy making myself follow through
  • I want to live longer
  • Riding a bike is fun!
  • All of the other reasons mentioned already
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Old 09-11-07, 06:07 PM
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That's another thing. I was inspired by a man I met who was a vegan. Except he had no moral qualms killing things. He simply noted that raising food animals was wasteful and the amount of food that goes into a cow, for meat OR milk, is alot more than you get out, so he chose not to play.

I race motorcycles. I really like things with motors. But I don't get any real joy out of sitting in traffic, and if I can reduce my driving to times when driving actually benefits someone somehow, even if only for shear enjoyment, then all the better.

I don't ALWAYS enjoy my bicycle ride in, but I never enjoy it less than I would enjoy sitting in rush hour traffic, and I keep myself fit, I use less resources, and I cut down on oil consumption and traffic.

That's why I commute.

Now, why I go out on weekends and push, that's just an insecurity thing (for me)

-- James
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Old 09-11-07, 06:15 PM
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For what it's worth, I won't go out of my way to save the planet, nor am I out to "stick it to the arabs/big oil tycoons/etc"

My reasons (if you can't tell from my first post) are purely selfish. But I do play along if someone tells me how cool it is that I'm helping the environment or decreasing our dependency of foreign oil.
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Old 09-11-07, 06:52 PM
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I love your honesty axon. Its very refreshing. To tell the truth I ride because I love to ride. I like seeing the sights. I love the smell of the trees, the dew, the morning air, the face of people I drop. Yeah, them too. I like the sense of accomplishment and riding keeps the weight off. I'm selfish because I spend more time on the bike than my family sometimes.

I'm not going to save the planet either. I polute every time I drive my car. I use my air conditioner if its hot out. And I use a gasoline powered lawn mower when I can easily use a push mower and rake up the mess.

I know its painful especially the weekend rides but in a sense the pain is what brings us back. Oh, and those wicked downhills on the other side of that tough climb is well worth the pain too.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:00 PM
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Riding my bike is my primary "stress management" method.
I also hate sitting in traffic.
I enjoy it. I wish there were more single track options on my commute.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:03 PM
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I ride so I can come on here and read posts about whether I fart in public, so I can read about everyone having or buying sets of whatever (wheelsets, framesets, you name it sets), from the guys who feel the need to have 20 bikes in their garage, the ones who think saving 100 grams on a tire that cost 3 times what a tire should cost is going to make any difference whatsoever... you know, that sort of thing.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:05 PM
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For whatever reason, I like to be on two wheels, and bicycles have the simplicity, versatility and human pace that nothing else I've tried has. Sometimes the bike seems to disappear and it's just me sailing along, out in the air enjoying the sights, sounds and smells.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:15 PM
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I have a lot of reasons for riding... but I think the main reason for me is that biking gives me some time to unplug.

For the 2.5 hours or so per day I spend riding, I don't have to think about anything related to work or school... I can just zone out. I have a stressful life. I am the single parent and sole caregiver my son (11-years old), I work 40+ hours between my two jobs every week, and I'm a full-time grad student. I am trying to juggle too many responsibilities at once. The only time that I get to unwind is when I'm on my bike.

Other reasons?
- I put on weight easily and have to work to stay at a good weight (below 170lbs, I am 6-feet tall).
- I am a tree hugger and hate the idea of contributing to pollution and global warming. I feel like I am trashing my son's future when I drive and conduct other environmentally-averse activities.
- Parking is expensive where I work and go to college, and the traffic is a nightmare. I only lose 15-minutes each way by commuting, and save about $6 in gas and $4 in parking.
- I feel better, mentally and physically. My 39-mile RT commute makes my mind and body tough, and forces me to be disciplined to commute my full 6-day work week.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
You're crazy. As my dad knew when I was a kid, the best punishment is to TAKE AWAY the bike.
Word.

I ride because it's fun! And it's one of my little parts to play in saving the world from ultimate ruin.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
You're crazy. As my dad knew when I was a kid, the best punishment is to TAKE AWAY the bike.
When I asked if I was crazy I was asking if I'm crazy to get on the bike all the time knowing that pain, lots of pain is waiting for me sometimes. But you are right. I am crazy.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:40 PM
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I ride for two reasons, 1, I like the fact that Im not adding as much as I used to to the pollution problem we're having and 2, I like to get out alone when I can, I think it helps me stay sane, no, Im sure it does, my wife sometimes tells me,"Just go out for a bike ride, itll help clear your head" and Ill be damned if shes not right! (they always are,I hate that!) I get to think about things when I need too, and forget about things when I want too when Im out there I have a clean clear mind, its almost like meditation! and I dont do it for excersize, thats just a sweet side effect
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Old 09-11-07, 07:52 PM
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It all boils down to one word: fun
It is freaking fun. The challenges. The endorphins.
The feeling of accomplishment when you finish a difficult commute or a long climb on a long ride. Then the joyous descent. There is nothing quite like riding in excess of 40mph on a bike.
I better stop now otherwise I will go on and on.
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