We, as cyclists, dream and live for those long, wandering rides that take us to little towns, out of the way canyons or mountain tops. We want to use our bikes to break the surly bonds of our earth and journey to the heavens.
That's what we think we do. And occasionally we do. But 99% of the time 99% of us just ride the same old stuff day in and day out. We become stuck in a rut that has grabbed our wheels and won't let go. This became painfully obvious to me yesterday when I was riding my normal morning loop. (As I was typing that, I accidentally typed "mourning" as opposed to morning, but in this case the first might have been more appropriate.) I ride basically in a big lollipop shaped loop. Not any different than a hamster. Pedaling my ass off to go nowhere.
Sure, I feel better when I ride. I get physically stronger. I get mentally stronger, happier and healthier. But, a bicycle is one of the most efficient machines ever created by man. It uses the least amount of energy of any form of propulsion compared to either cars or walking. (OK, well maybe I heard that once, maybe it's bullshit, but it does sound really good.) We could, or better yet, should use them to go places we've never been. Yet we use bicycles to do nothing more than ride in loops.
Having real responsibilities of a house, family, pets, work, bills, etc., make those 1% journeys not possible except for that 1% of the time. When we have that 1% of time to go do those journeys we need to take that opportunity by the balls and go for it, like I did last weekend. Those trips are about both the journey and the destination. The journey is a beautiful, wandering experience, seeing and feeling things that most don't get to. The destination isn't the end of the trip but the beginning of an accomplishment. But, and this is a big but, when we do get that 1% of time, we need to be ready to take advantage of it.
Riding my bike like a hamster in a wheel gets me ready for those 1% times. It does make me stronger, both mentally and physically. It makes me know that when I am 15 miles from the final destination of my trip and it is 95 degrees outside and I'm bucking a headwind I can make it to the end. Instead of a sufferfest, making the journey hurt and the destination the only goal, being a hamster makes the 1% time more enjoyable.
I am looking forward to my next morning ride. I am a hamster damn it. A big, fat, furry happy hamster!