Life Without Wheels: Chronicle of a Car-Free Lifestyle
 
I rode a century on Sunday, from my apartment in Korea town, straight down the LA River, to Oceanside. (Okay, it's actually about 5 miles short of a full 100, but I made up for it by riding my bike home from Union Station.) When I got home, after my bike bit me and left a huge, painful contusion on my right lateral malleolus, I began contemplating what it is I really love about riding--not just commuting, but hard riding. This philosophical pondering began on Thursday as I climbed a 13% grade for about 6 miles trying to get out of Avalon then tore across Middle Ranch Road on Santa Catalina Island, trying to make it across the island to Little Harbor on a mountain bike. 

Going up the mountain on Thursday was awful. I was on a heavy mountain bike, it was scalding hot out, and it was a steep, steep climb. It was painful, but I was happy. I didn't question anything, I didn't think about anything, my only goal was to get to the top. Then I coasted down, and I had to concentrate on the hairpin turns and not hitting potholes. Then, Middle Ranch Road, which cuts across the island, is mostly downhill, so you just pedal fast, fast, fast, and go fast, fast, fast...but for some reason, it wasn't doing it for me. 

Then on Sunday, whilst riding south to Oceanside, I realized my favorite part of the whole ride was the rolling hills and climbs through Laguna, Dana Point, and to a smaller extent, Camp Pendleton. As I sit here typing, it's perfectly clear to me: I like climbing. I love climbing. It's my favorite part of riding. And it's not because I get to fly down the other side. In fact, I could do without the flying down at plus 30 miles per hour. 

Why? Why, you ask? Why would I love torturing my legs to climb up huge grades and not do it for the reward of the coast down? Because I'm KING OF THE HILL. I am Napoleon. I am the MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE.

Or, at least I am when I get to the top of that mountain. Yes, at that moment when I reach the peak, the summit, the top of the climb, I have all the answers, I know the meaning of life, I can cross the space-time continuum, and I am the Master of the Universe. I am a God. I control the fate of all beings. 

So I ask, readers, dig deep, philosophize a bit, and tell me: what's your favorite aspect of riding and why? And don't give me that, "oh, it's good for my health," bullshit. Tell me the truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth, so help you Amanda. Tell me the real, dirty little secret of what gets you off about cycling. I really do want to know.
 


Comments

07/18/2010 20:38

Favourite (yeah, with an "u") thing aboot riding: It's just me, a bike, and the road.

No rocket science, no drama, no waiting. I just go.

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lil red
07/19/2010 07:45

I love the feeling of the wind on my skin. Ive got a two wheeled convertible that I can go anywhere with and never have to deal with traffic or parking. The best part,though, is it relaxes me. It's a great stress reliever. If I had a bad day I just hop on my bike and smash the tension away and just be able to think and enjoy some solo time.

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07/19/2010 08:39

Definitely bypassing traffic and always parking right near the door to where I'm going.

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