Many bike rides are focused efforts (most of mine, in fact). Some are specific training rides, some are simply about getting from point A to point B. Sadly, it seems that the more serious one gets about riding the less time the rider spends in the saddle just riding along. All too often time is spent watching average speeds or watts, rather than just watching the trees pass by. I'll even go so far as to say that there may be times when pleasure riding is met with guilt as one considers a potential workout lost. I've felt that feeling of guilt before and after I'd come to my senses I wondered what the hell was the matter with me.
Lets take a moment to think back to some of the old film footage we have seen from some city in Europe where everyone is riding a bike somewhere. None of those people were hanging over their handlebars gasping for air as they pulled every ounce of power they could from their legs. No, they were casually pedaling, looking around. They really looked like they were enjoying themselves. And, they were on machines that were a long way away from the carbon fiber featherweight rigs many of us ride today. Sure, their bikes served as tools to a greater end, but the looks on their faces told me that they loved every mile.
Riding a bicycles isn't meant to be done while constantly looking toward the end of a tough section or top of a climb. Riding is to be enjoyed in the moment, even the hard parts. I say going slow sometimes can be good for the soul. I say, ride with purpose, but ride to enjoy every pedal stroke, ride to see every animal, ride to see what's around every corner, while noticing all that you can along the way.
Laughing with a friend on a ride means it was one of the best rides you've been on. So, before you apologize to your friend about the climb your on by saying “It's all down hill, except for this part” you may want to just want to say, “Isn't this great?”
I encourage you to back of the power every now and then. Enjoy the animals, the trees, and the clouds. Let's not rush through all of our rides; there will be plenty of time for speed at the next race.
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Tim (Eki) Ek
Tim Ek was born and raised in Duluth, Minn., and still calls it home. He’s always had a passion for competition and seeking his own extremes. Tim's true love is the woods: Out in the wild is where he clears his head and finds his peace, and he prefers getting there by bike. Tim Ek: The Eki Chronicles, ekichronicles2.kinetic-fitness.com