As a teenager, I rode everywhere. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 18. We lived out in the country, so it was a long haul to get anywhere. I competed in a few races and did well, but just didn’t stick with it. Then along came life’s responsibilities and interruptions, not all bad. I got dealt a wonderful wife and great daughters. Then, in 1999, a tough bout with cancer. What a wake-up call! Shortly after recovering from surgery and chemotherapy, a friend invited me to join him on our local MS.150 Bike Tour. He backed out. I am glad I didn’t, because as soon as I got back on my bike the passion took over. (My wife calls it obsession.) Riding takes on many roles now. A long solo ride offers time to clear my head and get away from all the stress of owning a business, just time to unwind. The camaraderie of riding with my buddies, telling jokes, sharing stories, and then putting the hammer down trying to make them crack….Stopping in at our local coffee house and not having to pay, being the sprint winner that day. But, the most satisfying reason is participating in charity rides, knowing that every pedal stroke is making a difference in someone’s life by raising money and awareness for whatever the cause may be.
Today has been a great day. I had to go see my oncologist, and she gave me a clean bill of health. All my blood markers were normal (maybe the only thing normal about me), and she moved my testing from twice a year to once a year. Lance isn’t the only one to beat testicular cancer, but my hat’s off to him for his commitment in fighting this disease. Thanks to my bike, I am in the best shape of my life and will be here on earth to aggravate my wife for a long time.
—Keith Curran; Cleves, Ohio
Because I can put all the negative energy I have into the bike and come out feeling purified and loving myself just a little bit more. I ride because the sound of me panting and gasping for air is music to my ears. I also ride, because carrying packages while doing so is how I make my living.
—Rafael Negron; New York
I ride to support my young cousin with muscular dystrophy. She perseveres through challenges every day. I try to help by riding in a 250-mile trans-New Hampshire bike ride for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In three years, my father, my uncle and I have raised over $12,000. She is my motivation, and I try to support her.
I first started riding for physical fitness. I have lost over 50 pounds and in the process have developed a true love for cycling. Living in Germany, it is great to be able to ride through vineyards, farmlands, and up mountains. I ride for the challenge: to be able to beat my time from yesterday, making it up a climb faster, and going that extra five to 10 miles more than last week. I have set a couple of goals for 2009 and 2010, and I want to show my kids that if you work hard and have discipline, you can reach any goal you set your mind to. Cycling has changed my life in so many ways.
—Keith Baker; Wiesbaden, Germany
I ride because I’m unemployed.
During extremely heavy head and neck cancer, my doctor cycling buddies told me I wouldn't even think about my bike. Everyday at the crack of dawn I snuck out in full gear, put air in the tires and took a spin. Twenty miles soon dwindled to one mile. Crazy, great to defy the odds... Now I ride in total awe of this beautiful world I get to glide through.
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