I ride to prove to myself that my injuries in the Gulf did not stop me from living a fulfilling life. I ride for all those who served who can’t ride. I ride for freedom from tyranny because if I don’t ride, I have let those who would terrorize the world win. I ride to get to my VA appointments. I ride for therapeutic value. I ride because I love to ride!
—Beau Marshall, MSgt, USAF (Retired)
An ice-cold November puddle zinged off my back wheel and I tried to calculate how long it would take to turn around and ride back home to get in my nice warm car. Would I be late for work if I made a cup of coffee before I left? Through the dark, the blue light of a television flickered through the slats of a wooden fence. An image of an old woman with white hair and an impossibly bright pink polyester bathrobe materialized between the gaps in the boards. I wiggled my numb fingers trying to get some blood flow as I let my eyes readjust to the dark road. The image of the woman sunk in as I rode. Would I rather be in there or out here at 6 a.m.? I stood and up-shifted as I headed up Pinehurst road… I ride because someday when I can’t, I will surely wish I had.
Walnut Creek, California
I ride because my son has cystic fibrosis. He has to keep his lungs strong at all times, so more than anything I want to set an example and keep my lungs strong, too. As I am his inspiration to stay fit, he is mine. Ride hard and breathe strong! I hope you publish this with the hopes that any person who reads it with some sort of disease or another is inspired to ride onwards.
I ride because at 52 years old I can still enter a local criterium and string out the whole group. No, I didn’t win. I got third, but it was fun doing a sprint start and getting them in a panic. Now they are saying “watch out for the old guy.” OLD? Not me. Cycling has made me 20, no, 30 years younger.
It all started when I was three and hopped on my big brother’s bike. What took him training wheels and months of practice took me one glide and a fall to get it down. I was a natural. At age ten was my first bicycle race with two day’s training. I hopped on a Raleigh Technium and finished it. From then on I was hooked on riding. So hooked, I’m sitting here in Iraq thinking about sweet Susan (my bike). That is what gets me through the rough days—thinking of my next ride with my friends when I return home.
—Corporal Edward S. Passetto, U.S. Marine Corps
I ride to battle against Mother Nature herself, to feel the warmth and breathe the crisp air on a spring morning, after six months of waking up and wondering whether it was going to rain. I ride to receive a simple pat on the back or nod of the head from a teammate after hours of riding. I ride to sleep at night. I ride the hills to feel the pain; I ride for the speed. I ride to push myself and sometimes surprise myself. I ride to feel the adrenaline moments before a break. I ride to know what the greats went through, if only for a few moments. I ride to put my hand up to another biker going by, not just to say hi, but in acknowledgement for the joy and pain a bike ride brings. I ride to win. I ride to prove. I ride because I simply can.
—Peter Denness; England
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