I’m a fairly avid bicyclist – at this point in my life I own three bikes and ride throughout the year, even in our snowy Minnesota winters. I haven’t always been a biker, though. I rode bike as a kid and even biked from Minnesota to Michigan with my church youth group as a teen, but I pretty much left my bike behind when I started to drive. Then in my late 20s I purchased a bike and, though I rode it here and there over the years, most of the time it sat in my garage. Then, for some reason, I decided to start riding my bike more often and decided to buy a bike helmet. I stopped in a local bike shop to get a helmet and saw a flyer for a local charity ride – the Jesse James Bike Tour. I really don’t know why but I decided I should do the 30-mile route of the ride. So, in the late summer of 2009, I started biking a lot and did the JJBT that September.
The spring after, in 2010, I purchased a road bike with the intent of doing more rides like the JJBT. Then I heard about 30 Days of Biking – it’s a challenge to ride your bike every day during the month of April and share your daily ride successes on social media. It was tough for me to get out there and ride every day but I completed the challenge and, as a bonus, I met some really fun people through social media along the way.
I honestly believe it was the connections I made through 30 Days of Biking that made me really exciting about biking – enough so that I have done every round of 30 Days of Biking (plus a few bonus rounds) since that first year and now consider myself to be an avid bicyclist!
Since I got into biking, I’ve gotten into “fat biking” and have ridden in the snow and on mountain bike trails on my Salsa Beargrease. I also started riding gravel and last year entered a gravel race for women called RiotGRRRavel. This year I plan to do my first ever long solo ride, a 60 mile mixed surface ride (it’s mostly gravel) ride called Box of Frogs. In the future, I hope to do some overnight rides where I pack my gear and also some long-distance tours of the “credit card travel” variety – where you pack clothing and some gear but stay in hotels instead of camp.
I used to think that people who rode bikes long distances were a bit on the nutty side – but now that I know more about biking and have grown to enjoy it so much, I can’t imagine life without bicycling.
What about you? Do you have a hobby or passion that you wouldn’t have imagined yourself doing a few years ago?