In 1993, I broke my femur jumping my quad. I was 21 and had a baby daughter and a wife and a mortgage...I was out of work for many months in a wheelchair. The doctor prescribed bike riding for therapy. “Bicycles build you up, but motorcycles break you down,” he told me. Eventually, I began to race MTB and joined a club for cross training. Unfortunately, I didn’t take the doctor’s advice. In ’99 I shattered both of my ankles attempting a triple jump on my motorcycle. Wheelchair life again. Three surgeries, therapy, pain, weight lifting, bigger mortgage, out of work, and did I mention pain? The doctor tells me the only word he could use to describe my ankles is “applesauce.” He doesn’t know if I’ll ever walk again. I’m off of my bicycle for a year and a half.
After my ankles were fused, I was able to work through the pain to screw pedals to the bottom of my cast on one foot. The other foot had an external fixator, so I had to “improvise” another one for that foot. The first time out, I went for a slow spin. It worked! I was thrilled. Each turn of the crank was excruciating, but just being outside smelling the fresh rain and exploring was exhilarating. I was going to be able to ride again!
I gradually got better and better and rode every day as far as possible. I grew to love the fellowship and the challenge that riding provided. And I know that riding is the thing that kept me going.
Yorba Linda, California
Because it’s fun. Simple as that!
Sometimes, you don’t know about things until you feel them. It happened to me when I started riding a road bike two weeks ago. It’s a great feeling and good workout. I love to ride on a lonely road with just nature. Only cycling can take me that distance without polluting nature.
Because I love the burn in my lungs. I ride because when I reach the top of the hill, I feel like Icarus touching the sun’s rays—only to fall back down the road ahead of me.
There are eight individual reasons why we enjoy cycling: When all put together, they center around our love of one of the most enjoyable sports, the ride, pushing each other to new limits, and completing more demanding “centuries,” such as 6 Gap in Georgia (picture taken there). Most of all, we ride for the friendships we develop.
Cycling to me is one of the best ways to maintain my individual fitness goals. To do this solo is great, but to do it along with other individuals having the same goals is even more enjoyable.• Tracy:
In the beginning, cycling was a challenge to be conquered, a mountain to climb, a speed to reach, or a distance to travel. But through the years, cycling has become so much more; it has become an outlet for stress, and a way to meet some really awesome people.• Stephanie:
Each cycling challenge I take on is another way for me to defy age. Every ride makes me physically and mentally stronger, whether 100 miles in the mountains or a sprint to the edge of sickness. • Bob:
I have had the opportunity in these past 20 years to ride with a large variety of riders. However, I had not experienced the friendship and camaraderie that I now have with my current “Pirate” teammates. We all have the same love of cycling and continue to grow and expand that love on a daily basis.• John:
I ride for the enjoyment, the challenge, and the fitness factor. There is nothing like the freedom of an early morning ride with friends, the sound of the tires, the smell of fresh grass, and the pain of a strong head wind or hill. We push and help each other at the same time.• Trevor:
I find myself extremely lucky; this sport has afforded me the opportunity to become friends with a fascinating pack of individuals (the Pirates).• Richard:
Simply because I like it. The friends, fitness, and other health benefits that come with the sport are also a strong attraction—from the strong feeling of being the engine in front of the pace line to being humbled at the back of the line using all your physical strength just to hang on.
(Georgia Six-Gap photo from right to left (front): Cliff, Robert, Tracy, Stephanie, Bob, John. Back row right to left: Trevor, Richard.) All reside in Seminole County, Florida.