I started riding bikes about 5 years ago because of a boy. Not to chase after one, but to get one out of my head. I was 23, young, dumb, had been dumped by my first serious boyfriend in a move I never saw coming. I wandered in a haze of sadness for months before deciding it was time to find something to occupy my life. I had the horses of course, but as I was working at a barn at the time, there was still free time left I needed to fill.
On a whim, I loaded up my fathers Target Eddie Bauer bicycle in my car one weekend when visiting my parents. The bike was a touring bike that weighed about 800 lbs but at that point, I did not know any better. Actually, I really knew nothing except that riding my bike the 8 miles to the barn and back in the middle of a Texas summer made me feel tired but alive. I would be gasping for breath and sweating, but I was doing something.
Probably two weeks in, I decided I wanted to ride in the Hotter N Hell 100 in Wichita Falls. I had done this ride as a child with several of my family members and always viewed it as the absolute center of everything that was bicycle. I had a few months before the ride so I just kept pedaling and started building up some endurance.
Somewhere in the middle of this, I met another cyclist who was a “real” rider. I showed him my bike and looking back at it now, I have no idea how he kept a straight face as he looked at the monster I was riding. He did make some comment about how heavy it was but in my ignorance, I had no idea what the problem was with that. He also did not laugh at me when I made comments about how outrageously expensive bike shorts at Academy were for $30. I was shocked when he told me I could get a good entry level bike for about a grand. Seriously? Bikes were a hundred bucks at Wal-Mart. Silly boy.
Long story short, I ended up doing the 50 mile race with one of my brothers and was ignorantly blissful as I chugged along on my clunker and wished at the end I had signed up for the 100K. I was thrilled and could not wait for the next year.
What began because the ending of a love started a whole new one and in so many ways, a much healthier one. Horses will always come first as far as hobbies go, but I love the simplicity of bikes. They don’t get their feelings hurt if you don’t see them for a few days and they are always there for you when you need to blow off some steam, enjoy a beautiful day, or just be. In many ways, bicycles really saved my sanity and for that, I will always be grateful.