Reasons for riding.

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Reasons for riding.

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:23 am

I was reminded yesterday about a woman who I coached some years ago. She was a roadie who was just getting into venturing off-road but the other women that weekend were all mountain bikers. A conversation started and ms roadie was asked why she chose road cycling over mountain biking? I was surprised to discover that her decision was based on how the clothing associated with road riding made her feel. I won't bore you with the details (sorry) but in a nutshell, the tight fitting, figure hugging garments turned her on and she liked how they made her feel.

Obviously, that probably (I'm guessing here) made more sense to the other women present than it did to me but the conversation did make me question why I ride. I think at first it was perhaps a combination of novelty, escapism and good old fun. Over time, challange was possibly added to the list, yet now, the only reason I can see is the freedom it affords. I think I probably find the actual act of cycling quite boring but that's massively overshadowed by the freedom of travel it represents and the places that can take you.

I wondered whether anyone else's reasons or motivation for riding had changed over the years ... (a) I don't want to know if you're turned on by wearing lycra though and (b) no, I don't have pictures of the woman who sparked this off before you ask.
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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by Gari » Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:37 am

These days I am less interested in the riding itself. I was never particularly “enduro” or much more than an average rider, enjoying the flow of woodsie single track rather than technical downhill type riding. Though I still enjoy swooping in the woods, I am far less interested in the riding itself, so much as the environment I am riding through. Long mixed surface days or touring/bikepacking/gravelw@nktouring* have become my thing these days. Given my illness/condition I appreciate the health benefits of riding too.

* delete as appropriate :)

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by ScotRoutes » Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:40 am

Different rides provide different things.

I only got into biking to facilitate Munro bagging. Those long glens went by easier on a bike.

Then I started climbing and joined a gym. In addition to weights I was also doing CV work and would end up on an exercise bike. Then I started cycling to the gym instead.

While cycling I would have these sudden moments of realisation that I was grinning. Hey. I'm really enjoying this! Fast forward a few years and I'm working in a bike shop, lots of leisure time and access to trade prices.

I could ride out today for an explore, for a chilled, relaxing spin through the forest looking at squirrels, for a strenuous road ride to build up some lost fitness or to test my nerve and skills down the Lairig Ghru or Burnside. All of these come into play at various times.

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by ton » Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:45 am

because it is like being a kid every single day, swooping downhill pretending i am flying.
and because i like to travel through the countryside slowly, because that way i see things.

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by RIP » Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:23 am

Good one. You're on fire today (not a campfire obviously..).

Reasons not changed at all.

Biking for commuting/shopping/visiting, ie transport. Sometimes matched with a bus/train it gets you there in the open air, is often fastest (London), is free, keeps you fit, usually takes a constant time.

For sensation. I love using my senses. They are free entertainment. Speed (and indeed slow too!), power, light, sound, touch, all combine into a pleasure explosion on a bike. Only one other thing comes close. I rarely do it now. It's not what you think. But biking has not diminished or changed.

It's fast enough but slow enough to allow things to happen as I travel. I can stop instantly, change plan, stop to chat, encounter absurdities and madness.

Freedom certainly, see previous para. When I get off a train, eg at Caersws, it's just me and the bike. Absolutely anything can happen next. I always stop for a moment to let that sink in before I set off.

People will interact with a cyclist but rarely do with motor vehicle users.

The technical bike itself is only a tiny part of it. It's almost the perfect marvellous machine but the details do little for me.

Challenge maybe, but that was never a big part of it. Neither are/were any of the 'numbers'.

We're all different.

But I think I can say no, nothing has changed since I first 'ran away' on my tricycle aged 4 to meet my father at the railway station. And that's not in a bad way. Quite the opposite, I'm grateful that I still love it and appreciate it. Big kid.
Last edited by RIP on Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:53 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by chris n » Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:28 am

I like the empty feeling in my head when I ride a bike.

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by RIP » Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:33 am

^ interesting :smile: . I get that if I'm not on a bike :grin: .

But I know what you mean :-bd .
"There comes a time in your life Ponsonby, when you think: 'My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP

"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by MuddyPete » Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:43 am

It's like being a 9-year-old again...scrambling in the woods on my Raleigh Chopper with my mates...building dens and cooking tins of beans until they explode :shock: (who'd have thought that would happen :lol: ).
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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by darbeze » Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:50 am

I enjoyed the freedom a bike gave me as a child.
Then it became transport to school.
Then after a few years of motorised commuting, It became transport to work.

Then a gap of about 20 years followed when the kids came along and I got busy.

After visiting Iceland a coupe of times, I wanted to go back to explore more, and after the ferry got cancelled in 2008, I decided riding would be a good idea! I enjoyed it so much, I haven't stopped since.

When I discovered Bear Bones in 2013, the motivation became challenge, largely thanks to the BB200. That was my reason to ride pretty much until 2018, when my approach and desire started to change. Challenge became less important, to the point where I will probably not enter a challenging event again.

Now the simple pleasure of riding is what gets me on the bike. Whether that be road, offroad, bikepacking etc... It doesn't matter anymore. I just love riding.


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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by mikehowarth » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:10 am

Where do you even start?

I ended up getting back in to cycling as a form of commuting, then it supplemented my training whilst I was fell running and racing, and then it became a core component of adventure racing.

Various bike trips sowed the seed of how interesting it was to see the world on a bike, so much so I spent 2.5 years riding a bike in South America and the Himalayas.

Bikes have opened up a fantastic community of people and friends, as well as enabling me to see some fantastic places and take the odd nice picture along the way.

Now I'm chasing tiles from my doorstep :lol:

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by pistonbroke » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:12 am

I ride because I'd be unbearable if I didn't.
Some may say it's not working :lol:
MrsPB is into the the "look" thing but around here having matching kit is not just the preserve of roadies, she goes mountainbiking with her woman only club and woe betide anyone who doesn't wear the right kit.

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by thenorthwind » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:46 am

Freedom. It's that simple. I know it sounds cliched, but when you get down to the root of it, that's it.

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by lune ranger » Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:12 pm

I never haven’t cycled.
Getting out to new, wild places at home and abroad has always been a big factor.
The joy of movement and pushing my limits as well.
After I got slightly blown up and was rehabing from a brain injury getting biking again was a huge motivator. Getting my balance back and getting stronger again was mostly achieved by riding.
Then I was drinking too much and struggling with my mental health - family and cycling helped me through that.
Now it gives me headspace - I can ride for hours and be absorbed very little except my surroundings and the sensation of riding. It’s such a huge release from the daily stresses of life.
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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by jameso » Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:27 pm

I can hardly remember when I didn't love riding a bike. Fun, freedom, thrills, loads of reasons but maybe all underpinned by a refusal to grow up completely. It's just fun and adventure, same as it was at 6 years old. Combine that with the exercise and how it offers the chance to see what you can do, I've done other things that gave me a similar escape - sailing, windsurfuing and climbing mainly, but always come back to riding. You can't beat pulling a bike out of the garage and riding from the front door. The ease and accessibility of it is a real bonus.

Also the mix of being able to choose your effort level to some extent as well as fun/reward you don't really get with most other active things - ie running is just effort. XC ski-ing or ski mountaineering could replace cycling for me (easily, I think) but not living where I do.

I think there's something in the way an hour at max pace on the road bike is as close as I'm likely to get to meditation, I can go for a long time without any real thoughts in my head doing that. Or, I can pootle and think about all sorts of stuff over a period of time you rarely get with daily distractions going on.

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by slarge » Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:41 pm

What Jameso said rings true with me. I love being outside, riding provides that, and it also provides stress management, exercise, fitness, a challenge, and something to look forward to.

I used to do a lot of running, but got a bit bored by it as it was always from the house, similar routes and I had to drive somewhere to run in a different place. The distances you can go on a bike means there are many many route options from the front door. I hope I never get tired of it, or am prevented from doing it as it provides the vast majority of my sanity and enjoyment

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by In Reverse » Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:18 pm

chris n wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:28 am
I like the empty feeling in my head when I ride a bike.
jameso wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 12:27 pm
I think there's something in the way an hour at max pace on the road bike is as close as I'm likely to get to meditation,
Both these sum it up very nicely.

Very much like James's riding at max pace feeling I find technical climbing and descending do a similar thing - I can be lost in complete concentration followed by a wave of elation.

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by Jurassic » Tue Jun 16, 2020 8:52 pm

Lot's of reasons for me. Habit because I've been riding for a long time on and off, exercise and keeping fit, the ability to explore (especially when we're allowed to stay out overnight), the zen like thing that people have mentioned,the social side of it (a lot my friends ride) whether that's informal or in a club in the past and even virtually on here and also the adrenaline of riding more technical stuff. I also love working on my bikes or building new bikes up, I've always been a bit of a gear freak in all the activities I've done and cycling is no exception to this. Cycling as an activity ticks loads of boxes for me and enhances my quality of life I think.

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by SeannyD » Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:55 pm

Just like it, the minimum of machinery to get a buzz, used to fall off/crash motorbikes as a youth. Discovered ‘mountain‘ bikes and didn’t look back, never too serious, skill set sadly lacking, but love being out on a bike. Went on to road bikes but now split 50/50 between both. Love the engineering applied to a classic design, the pootling about in the garage, type 2 fun and gentle wee rides getting to know my adult son better now he’s his own man. To use a crap word, the bike has been an enabler, a tool, a means of transport and a major bone of contention at times (n+1 and all that :wink: )

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by BigdummySteve » Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:35 pm

I think the bicycle is one of humanity’s greatest inventions, it can be very simple but enables some astounding things. As a youth I strapped fishing rods and a tent to my bike and found freedom, I might only have been 6 miles away from home but it was mine, when I was an air cadet I blagged a glider scholarship, my father worked on the boats so I grabbed my 10 speed Raleigh, cycled 18 miles to Manston airfield and spent the day flying :-bd
I cycled the length of our country in 16 days, I actually traveled rather than just blasted through.
When my kids were young they traveled in my Bigdummy, school, shopping and a few camp outs. My boy was on the back of a bike from a very young age, he often used to fall asleep in the child seat!
I still haven’t actually answered the why’s possibly the purity of it, now I’ve got as silent rear hub it’s often like flying when going down hills, it connects with something very deep, although I spent many years skydiving the experiences don’t compare to surfing an 8ft wave or swooping downhill on a bike, if you go back in time just a hundred years none is these things would have been possible, evolution is slow, simple pleasures?
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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by Scud » Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:04 am

Apart from a BMX as a teen, i was never really a cyclist until my 30's, joined Army at 17, and always played rugby, and then onto running a small travel company taking people out to North and West Africa, and the lads i ran travel company with were both bike couriers in London and loved watching them bomb down the hills in Morocco when we were working, but i was always rugby-prop forward shaped and felt out of place on a bike.

Cut to early 30's, still drank and ate 4000 calories like i was playing rugby for a living, so grew from 16 stone to nearer 18, and had to get a proper job in an office and bought a GT mountain bike from Halfords as i had a load of MOD land near me where i could ride without anyone watching, and it looked like it might take my weight without folding in the middle, then gradually got a bit fitter and fell in love with it, perversely i bought my first decent bike with money i received after an accident out in Bolivia which left me with metal pins in shoulder and a brake lever through leg.

For me it has a bit of everything, i like the pace of cycling, slow enough you take everything in, but fast enough i've covered 500km in a day. I like the social side and the type of people i've met on my bike, they tend to like-minded and easy to get on with. I like the physicality of it, especially as i am now behind a desk all day, i like the exploring nature of it, the bike has replaced the hiking boot and the Land Rover as a means of travel and I like the different types of bikes for different applications and i own everything from track bikes to fat bikes (probably replacing army slight obsession with "kit")

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Re: Reasons for riding.

Post by voodoo_simon » Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:29 pm

Freedom and exploration.

Makes me feel like a teenager again, heading off out for a ride without mum and dad, without friends too and doing my own thing (a trend that I’ve managed to keep up with!).

That’s it in its simplest form.

A reason that I dislike trail centres are the one way system, I spend my working life following directions, so why the f*ck do I want to spend my days off doing the same.

Ands there’s something marvellous in stopping, taking stock of a ride or view and thinking, I did it all on my own :-bd

No other sport comes close.

Hill walking is great but it has to be a ridge or scramble otherwise I do spend sometime thinking ‘wish I was on my bike’

Fell running is better still, faster than hill walking and again, it’s got to be a place where I wouldn’t take my bike.

Ultimately, I just like being in forests or hills...

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