Riding a bike is like time travel for me. It takes me back. The first time I noticed how liberating a bicycle is was in the summer of my fourteenth year, when while at Pioneer Ranch Camp we rode from Jasper to Rocky Mountain house over four days. It was a marvellous experience which changed the course of my life in a profound and significant way. We were high school kids, riding one or two hundred dollar box-store bikes, and we had no previous touring experience, nor any special training, none of us.
Between us, we carried our tents and food. We were just kids, really, with two expert leaders. As high school students, we were relatively independent, having spent a few summers engaging in outdoor adventure already, and so we were comfortable with pitching a tent and putting dinner on at the end of a day’s adventure. But we were no more physically prepared for long distance cycling than any other normal teenaged girl. If we could do it, so can you. We rode 330 km over four days, and we crossed a high mountain pass along our way. It was marvellous, and it taught the lot of us that you can go anywhere on a bike. Anywhere your heart takes you.
The most important component of success is having the understanding that as long as you continue spinning along on your way, you will always inevitably arrive at your destination. The camp was a remarkable gift, in fact, because it taught us the value of self propelled travel, of active transportation. It’s a beautiful, powerful experience which all young people ought to enjoy. The very best gift that came from those various outtrips was the innate awareness of the many, huge benefits of living an active lifestyle.
It didn’t take any special training, and it didn’t require expensive bikes or gear, either. It was one of the top three vacations of my whole entire lifetime, and it was neither expensive, nor exotic. It was fun, it was memorable, it left us with a real feeling of accomplishment and achievement, AND it triggered the early development of some great muscles.
That ride through the Rockies was the beginning of a lifetime of movement and the cornerstone of a happy, healthy, active and purposeful life. In a way, that trip was an inspiration for riding which I now enjoy at every possible opportunity. Who could ask for anything more?
If you’re reading this, you might just have a moment like that all your own. Was there a time you can point to, when you realised just how wonderfully freeing a bicycle can be? Was there a moment when it dawned on you just how far you can go on your bike?