It was over 20 years ago when I decided to ride a bicycle from south of Dallas, Texas, to Oregon. It was in Colorado where I turned off a main road onto Indian land. I found a nice spot to lie down and enjoy the sky. In just a few hours the sky was dark with clouds and the wind grew strong. It seemed wise to head back to the main road and look for a tree for shelter. The wind was gusting to my side, so it was necessary to walk the bike. There were no large trees, so I prayed, “Lord, you don’t have to do it, but it would be nice to get a ride.” There had been very little traffic on that road, but in a matter of minutes a truck stopped. The driver told me to put my bike in the back of his truck and get in. It wasn’t long before the rain came down in a torrent. Laying my head against the window I went to sleep. This ride took me well north of Denver.
I believe it was after Missoula, Montana, at the $100,000 Bar, that I stopped to get a glass of tea and relax before night. A waitress asked me if I was all right. I told her I had just ridden a hundred miles and just wanted to relax with some ice tea. She brought me a full meal and dessert at no charge. On a napkin I wrote out a poem I had authored years before:
“The humbled often left to grieve
while insolence is given heed
and while the poor man bears his need
the full receives abundant feed
and men deceitful in their word
are often much more quickly heard
than those direct and clear and true
who really should be listened too.”
I gave her money for the meal anyway, and the poem to do with as she would. When I made it to Oregon I found a place away from city noise and lights where I could sleep. The air was crisp, and the sky was filled with stars. I quickly went to sleep, enfolded in the glory of the Creation.
—Charles Dawkins; Texarkana, Texas
I ride because it’s just me, the bike, and the road.... I ride the way I want to ride.... I ride....
—Martin Ventura Simi; Valley, California
My wife has always felt like she competes for my attention with my bike, but recently she d she had lost the war. I have been accused of being passionate, addicted, even obsessed; so much so that I just finished building a brand new BMC Streetfire I had been saving and scrimping for when I tore apart my old Raleigh Technium. I took everything off this bike, including the paint! I took it back to its bare metal frame. I spent days refinishing the frame and repainting this classic steed so that it is now a Team Chipotle color scheme, orange with blue lugs. Being unable to part with this beauty it will be my single-speed/commuter bike once I can afford a set of blue wheels with flip/flop hubs. My wife’s loss came on the way home from surgery. I was being helped into the house after having all four wisdom teeth violently yanked from my head. While still under the influence of anesthesia, I was unable to walk on my own. However, upon passing my newly painted bike I shook my wife and mother in-law off and steadied myself. After gaining my balance I walked over and stroked my bike, spun the crank a few times and simply uttered one word “better.” It was at this point my wife surrendered and recognized it was not simply passion, addiction, or even obsession…it is love.
Because I can. How lucky are we to live in a place that all we have to worry about are inattentive drivers and not check points, roadblocks, land mines, and bored armed militias? To us, town lines are sprint goals, not borders of warring clan’s turf or boundaries that limit our safety. The simple freedom of getting on a bike and not worrying about where, how long, etc. you are going is a luxury many people don’t have.
Because my age is a good sprinter and getting faster. I can still out climb him though.
I’m not too complicated. I ride because It’s fun; I enjoy the exercise; it’s an economical, environmentally friendly and fun way to get to work during the week; and I enjoy group rides with friends on the weekend.
—Kent Hansen, age 45; Sandy, Utah
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