Posted by: emilybybike | August 24, 2010

My Constant Companion

Analogy time 🙂 Or maybe I just think too much while I commute, but about two hours on the bike each day, when you’re not focusing on training, staying on someone’s wheel or wondering what obstacle will be in your path next, does yield a lot of time for your mind to wander.

So I pedal and I think. Sometimes I think about my day ahead at work, I think about the million and ten things I’d rather be doing than going to work, I think about the park I’m riding through, I think about the homeless people I see sleeping under bridges, I think about friends, family, relationships , life, I think about what I want to do next with my career, I think about cycling and on a few rare occasions,  I sit and wish I wasn’t riding because my legs are screaming at me after a weekend where I rode 77 miles on my mountain bike and did over 10,000 feet of climbing. Ouch. But, in the end, no matter what’s on my mind, even if my legs ache and I’m tired, I wouldn’t trade my little two-hour round trip commute of just me and my bicycle for anything else.

And now back to my original point – during one of these little ‘thinking’ sessions – I’ve come to realize that life is a lot like going by bike, you go through the same motions each time, and typically go by the same path, but sometimes your path detours, there are roots, bridges, turns, logs, rocks, angry drivers, flooded creeks – you name it, while your path, origin and destination may be the same, there are a lot of things that can get in your way and cause you stress, annoyance and sometimes, excuse my language, but just suck. We’ve all had those days, whether in life or on the bike, and while it’s not fun, and no one likes to have those, it’s part of your path and you can’t change it.

Crossing a bridge in my path – New River Trail – circa 2006

But one thing I have found, in all these situations, both in the path of life and on the literal bike path, is my one constant, reliable and steady companion is my bike. Sure it’s an inanimate object, which, if you’re me, you have the tendency to break frequently, but even so, to me at least, my bikes are more than a piece of sporting equipment, or a tool to get from point a to point b. They represent a reliable source of fun, friends, exercise and challenge, and whenever I need them, they’re there. When I’m happy, I ride, when I’m sad, I ride, when I need to get rid of stress, I ride. It’s almost funny how something as simple as a bicycle can have such a huge impact on your life, but when I look back, I lose count of the times and ways my bicycles have changed and improved my life.

I used to joke when I first started riding that I was in a relationship with my bike as when I was in college it lived in my room. And now – well, while my life has taken many detours, turns, ups, downs, and I’ve had to get over and around obstacles, the one constant that I’ve rarely been without (aside from family of course!) has been my bike. There’s been a bike in my room since 2003, and I don’t think that is ever going to change.



  1. OK, first a disclaimer: I’m not much of a blogger. I hope I don’t violate any blogging etiquette.

    When I read this I thought how beautifully it captured the heart and soul of biking for me. I used to say that I could bike before I could walk, and have had a relationship with bikes ever since.

    It made me think of my first bike, getting my training wheels off when I was 4 (the youngest one in the neighborhood), and the first 3 speed I bought at Sears with green stamps (uh oh, showing my age).

    Thanks for your thoughtful and honest writing.
    I related to this so much, you’d think we were related. Oh, wait a minute, we are! Do you think we share the Grandpa Kuhns gene?


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