Almost 37 years ago, I was born on a hot and humid summer day. I entered the world and was handed off to two completely different parents.
I am a firm believer that we all pick up traits form those who raise us, even if at the time we do not see the benefits of this. My optimistic streak whispers in my ear to find the gifts that these two people have given me vs. the habits.
My mother gave me the gift of creativity, the ability to think outside of the box and a love for nature and poetry. My father gave me the gift of two wheels and the old "eagle eye" for spotting wildlife.
To be honest, I really had no choice but to love cycling and the culture that surrounds it. My weekends as a child were spent watching and cheering for my father at bike races around the Midwest. When he wasn't racing, we'd watch the "classics" on t.v.
When I was old enough to get a bigwheel, the entire world unfolded right in front of me. Rolling around the block alone gave me a sense of independence and adventure. This activity alone probably shaped who I am today more than any other.
As the bigwheel's wheels wore through (I wore out two sets)from doing "spin outs" and "skids" down hills, a new bike with training wheels magically appeared. This brings me to my next monumental life shaping moment. The training wheels came off one day. My dad ran behind me and then let go of my seat. I was on my way to a new world. Of course this new world came with hiccups. I turned back to see where he was, turned into the road and wiped out in gravel. My first brush with road rash...I was not happy...but I survived. From that point on, I never looked back.
Fast forward 30+ years. There aren't many aspects of the cycling world that I haven't explored. I've road raced, done some off road riding (cross and mt.bike), ridden recumbent and tandem, embraced year round commuting even in -20 degrees, toured and am now in the throws of the urban scene riding fixed.
I can mark the most important events in my life through rides. I ride to celebrate living, to burn through anger or frustration, to dry tears, to bust through fear and to see this beautiful world around me at a slower pace. I'm not sure what my life would be like without cycling. I'm not sure if I want to know.