My Need to Ride

By David Ward

My life just seems to get more complicated. I always thought that when my children were raised and on their own, I would have more free time. I also thought that as I approached retirement (still a few years away), I could lighten my work load. And I figured the overall demands on my time would decrease. As it has turned out, it’s just not true. It fact, it seems just the opposite.

Either that, or my ability to juggle everything is diminishing as I get older. Whatever the reason, and it is likely a combination of both, my time to ride seems to be decreasing. That’s my life in microcosm. Complicated, too many irons in the fire, and overwhelmed at times.

So, more and more, I find myself going several days, a week or even more without getting on a bike.

When that happens, it does not take long till I start to feel out of sorts. My body seems not to function as well as it should, my mind becomes fatigued, and my emotional outlook begins to feel unsettled. I feel tired, and I even lack the desire to ride. It is at that point that I realize that I just need to make the effort to get on my bike, and that if I do so, I will feel refreshed, regenerated and re-energized.

For nearly 35 years now I have been riding regularly. I believe my mind and body now need, indeed crave, a good ride when I go too long without one. They have become accustomed, addicted if you will, to a steady diet of riding, and all the good fitness and feelings that come from that. Without it, my world starts to unravel a little bit.

Two weeks ago, I was assaulted by a sinus infection. For several days, it was all I could do to drag myself to work and home again. I even skipped church on Sunday, but thereafter finally started to feel a little better. A week after it had come on, I had overcome the worst of the sinus infection, and I began to crave a ride. So, since I had no business outside the office the next day, I commuted to work and back home. It felt good.

But then for the next several days, I had too much going on to get out and ride, and then we were headed out of town for the Memorial Day weekend to work on our cabin. I took my bike along in hopes of finding a few hours to break free, but by Sunday evening, it had not happened. And by then, I was feeling tired and lethargic. That’s when I felt it, when I recognized it: The need to ride, even though the thought of doing so made me feel more tired.

We were in Idaho, and our plan was to visit my wife’s sister on our way home. So, before leaving for home, I donned my cycling garb, and told my wife that we were going to stop in Rexburg, from where I would ride the last 21 miles to her sister’s home. She agreed I could. (I never do anything without my wife’s blessing, of course.)

So in Rexburg, I climbed on my bike and headed out into a dry, stiff headwind. This headwind buffeted me around, but it felt great. The legs were pumping and the blood was flowing. Soon, my body and bike were in a good synergy and my mind was clearing. It was exactly what I needed.

 

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